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How to make a career change at 40 (even with no experience)
Changing careers is now widely accepted. In fact, it’s predicted that by 2020, young Australian workers will have an average of six careers throughout their professional lives.
But if you’re considering changing careers at 40 or older, taking that leap of faith isn’t always so easy. For starters, you’ve probably already built up a specific skill set – meaning taking on a new career could equal a setback in seniority and salary. Couple that with the stigma of starting from scratch later on in life, and changing careers may simply seem unrealistic.
However, with preparation and a set plan of action, transitioning careers is possible at any age. Here are some key steps to making it happen.
Work on skills you can use in your new career
There’s a high likelihood that you already possess a number of skills that would be valuable in any workplace. For example, soft skills such as problem-solving abilities and organisational skills are sought after by virtually every employer.
Identify your key transferable skills and look for opportunities to build on them by taking on new projects at work or in your spare time. Also think about achievements you’ve made with those core skills, as you can use them to sell yourself on your new CV.
Upskill with formal education
Gone are the days when tertiary education was just for school-leavers. Nearly half of all university students in Australia are mature-aged, and of those, 67% work and study at the same time – which goes to show it is possible to begin working toward a new career while you’re still employed.
If your new career field requires specific skills or education, consider taking on a part-time university or TAFE course to give yourself a head-start before leaving your current job.
Take advantage of networking opportunities
It’s all about who you know, as they say, and that’s true even if you’re going down a completely new career path. Chances are someone in your existing professional network, family or friends can offer some insights into your new profession or knows someone else who can – so reach out to see who can help.
Do some research to find out what networking opportunities there are in your area where you can get to know others in the industry and start building up your contacts. And don’t forget that the internet is a great resource for connecting with mentors and thought leaders who can offer first-hand advice about getting your foot in the door.
RELATED: Why should you get a mentor?
Scope out job opportunities
Before you dive head-first into your new career, research the current jobs market to see what sorts of skills are in demand and what roles pop up regularly in job listings.
Also consider how jobs in the industry will change over time, as transitioning to a new career is a long-term process – and it’s important to have the right skills under your belt when it comes time to start applying for jobs.
Is it time for a career change? See our latest job listings.