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How to make a successful career change at 40 and beyond
Changing jobs has become an emerging trend amongst today’s young Australians – research by McCrindle found that school leavers today will have 17 different employers in their lifetime.
In addition, the study said what’s unique today is that the bulk of the workforce is following the lead of young people when it comes to career changing.
So while the idea of either starting over or taking a new path can be a scary prospect for those who are 40 years old or older, rest assured that changing careers is now widely accepted.
In the current environment, many people have had no choice but to start over or start elsewhere. In these circumstances, there have already been moments of success and positivity – as shown through a number of stood-down Qantas employees who are finding success as superstars in another field.
As an experienced worker, you also have a distinct advantage from those who are just entering the labour market. For starters, you’ve probably already built up a specific skill set. You may think that taking on a new career could equal a setback in seniority and salary. However, this is where you can focus on your transferable skills.
Furthermore, you’ve likely had more experience with job interviews, and you have a better understanding of what sort of jobs you are now passionate about, and what your strengths are as an employee.
With preparation and a plan of action, transitioning careers is possible at any age.
Here are some key steps to consider if you’re considering a career change at 40 or beyond.
Work on transferable skills for your new career
Having already worked a number of years in workforce, you already possess a number of valuable skills that most workplaces will appreciate and welcome. Soft skills such as strong problem-solving abilities, management and organisational skills are highly sought after by most employers.
So identify your key transferable skills and additionally, look for opportunities to build on them by taking on new projects at work or in your spare time. Also, think about the 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 you leave your current role.
There are also great online resources and short courses, such as LinkedIn Learning, which provides certifications.
Leverage all 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 don’t be shy about reaching 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. Search for groups on social platforms that you can join and follow for advice – as well as ask questions to the members for some better insights about their experiences.
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 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.