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Naomi Rothwell-Boyd, February 6 2023

5 Key First Steps for Successfully Changing Career at 40

Making a career change at 40 can be daunting, but it doesn't have to be. It's never too late to make changes that will lead you down the path of success and fulfilment. 

If you're considering making this big move in your life, here are five essential steps for changing career at 40: assessing your current situation, identifying your goals, networking & research, updating your resume & skills and applying & interviewing. With the right preparation and dedication you'll find yourself ready for the challenge ahead.

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Assessing Your Current Situation

When it comes to making a career change, the first step is assessing your current situation. It’s important to take the time to reflect on where you are in your career and why you want to make a change. Consider what successes you have achieved so far, which skills you have developed, and what new things you still want to learn or accomplish. Think about how any extra experience could help open up opportunities in different industries.

For example, if you’re looking for a job in marketing but currently work as an accountant, consider how your knowledge of financial processes could be beneficial when creating budgets or tracking ROI for campaigns. Or if you’ve been working as an administrative assistant but now want to become a web designer, think about how all those years of organising data can help inform user-friendly design decisions.

It's also important that during this assessment process we don't get too caught up comparing ourselves with others who may seem more successful than us at first glance; instead, focus on recognising our own strengths and weaknesses objectively so we can move forward confidently towards our goals. Taking stock of where we are today helps us identify potential paths forward into tomorrow - something that will come in handy when networking and researching possible jobs later down the line.

Take a moment to assess your current situation and evaluate the skills, experiences, and values that will be important for you in your new career. Once you have identified these key components, it's time to move on to setting clear goals for yourself.

TAKEAWAY TWEET: Making a career change at 40? Start by assessing your current situation and recognising your strengths & weaknesses. Focus on what you can bring to the table, not comparing yourself to others. #careerchange #40plus Click to Tweet

Identifying Your Goals

Identifying your goals is an important part of any career change. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of what you want and how it fits into your lifestyle before making any major decisions.

Start by considering the type of job or career path that interests you most. Think about what kind of environment you would like to work in, the tasks and responsibilities associated with the role, and whether or not it aligns with your values and long-term goals. Once you have identified a few potential paths, research them further to ensure they are realistic and achievable for someone in your position.

It’s also important to consider other aspects such as salary expectations, location preferences, commute times, hours worked per week etc., so that you can find something that works for both yourself and employers alike. Additionally, take into account factors such as family commitments or hobbies which may affect when or where you are able to work.

Finally, ask yourself if this is something that will bring satisfaction over time. Is there room for growth within this field? Will I be happy doing this day after day? Answering these questions honestly can help guide decision making throughout the process, ensuring greater success in achieving personal goals while avoiding unnecessary stress down the line.

Once you have identified your goals, the next step is to research and network in order to find the right job opportunities that will help you make a successful career change.

TAKEAWAY TWEET: Make sure your career change at 40 is successful. Research potential paths, consider salary & lifestyle factors, and ask yourself if it will bring long-term satisfaction. #careerchange #40andbeyond Click to Tweet

Networking & Research

Networking & Research is an essential part of any successful career change. It can help you gain insight into the industry, learn about potential employers and job roles, and understand what qualifications are needed for the role.

Start by connecting with people in your desired field or industry. Reach out to former colleagues, friends, family members, mentors or anyone else who may have connections in that area. Ask them questions about their experience working in that field and find out if they know of any open positions or opportunities available to you. You can also join professional networks like LinkedIn to expand your network further and connect with professionals from around the world.

Researching potential employers is another important step when considering a career change. Find out as much information as possible about each company including its mission statement, culture, values and benefits offered to employees. This will give you a better understanding of whether it’s the right fit for you before applying for a position there. Additionally look into job roles within those companies so that you can determine which one would be best suited for your skillset and interests.

Finally, research what qualifications are necessary for each role so that you know exactly what requirements need to be met before applying or interviewing for it. This could include certifications or educational background related to the position being applied for. Make sure these match up with yours prior to submitting an application. Knowing this information ahead of time will ensure that all expectations are met during the process leading up to getting hired on at a new organisation.

Networking and research are essential steps to take when considering a career change. Utilising these tools will help you identify potential opportunities and create a plan of action for your transition, so it's important to start updating your resume and skillset as well.

Key Takeaway: Networking and research are key for a successful career change at 40. Connect with people in your desired field, learn about potential employers, job roles and qualifications needed for the role to ensure all expectations are met during the process.

Updating Your CV & Skills

Updating your CV is an important step in the career change process. It’s essential to tailor your resume to reflect the skills and experience that are relevant for the new role you’re seeking. Start by removing any irrelevant information from previous positions or experiences, such as job duties that don’t apply to this new role. Then, emphasise any transferable skills from past roles that could be beneficial in this new position.

For example, if you were a customer service representative at your last job but now want to transition into a marketing role, highlight how your customer service experience has taught you how to communicate effectively with customers and build relationships with them. This type of skill can easily be transferred over into a marketing role where it would be valuable for building relationships with potential clients or partners.

You should also consider taking courses or workshops related to the field you’re transitioning into so that you can develop additional skills needed for the role. For instance, if you want to become an accountant but have no prior accounting experience, take classes on basic accounting principles and processes so that employers know they won't need to spend time training you on these topics when hiring someone without prior knowledge of accounting concepts.

Finally, make sure all of your contact information is up-to-date and accurate before submitting applications so recruiters can reach out if they're interested in interviewing candidates who meet their qualifications for open positions. Additionally, include references who can speak positively about both your work ethic and abilities as well as provide insight into why they think this career change would be successful for you based on their knowledge of what makes a great candidate in this industry sector

Updating your resume and skills is an important step in navigating a career change. Once you have your resume ready, it's time to start applying and preparing for interviews.

Key Takeaway: When changing careers at 40, update your CV to reflect relevant skills and experience. Take courses or workshops related to the new field and make sure contact information is up-to-date. Include references who can speak positively about your work ethic and abilities.

Applying & Interviewing

Once you’ve identified potential roles, it’s time to start applying for them. Make sure your resume is up-to-date and tailored to the job description. You should also make sure that you have a professional profile on LinkedIn or other networking sites, as many employers will look at these profiles when considering candidates.

Researching common interview questions can help you prepare for interviews. Look into what types of questions are typically asked in interviews for the type of role you are applying for and practice answering them with a friend or mentor who has experience in the field. This will help build your confidence so that when it comes time to actually go through an interview, you feel more prepared and less anxious about the process.

You should also take some time to research the company before going into an interview so that you can ask informed questions during the conversation and demonstrate your knowledge of their industry and products/services they offer. It's important to be able to speak intelligently about why this particular position interests you specifically, rather than just talking generally about wanting any job in this field.

When attending an interview, dress professionally according to their standards (e.g., business casual vs formal attire) and arrive early enough so that if there are any unexpected delays such as traffic or parking issues, they won't affect your ability to get there on time. During the actual meeting itself, be polite but confident - maintain eye contact throughout while speaking clearly without rambling too much - then thank them afterwards for taking the time out of their day to meet with you.

Key Takeaway: When changing careers at 40, it's important to have an up-to-date resume and professional profile, research common interview questions, research the company you are applying for, dress professionally and arrive early.


Changing career at 40 can be a daunting prospect, but with the right approach and guidance it is achievable. Taking the time to assess your current situation, identify your goals, network and research potential opportunities, update your CV and skillset, and apply for positions are all key steps in successfully navigating a career change. With dedication and perseverance you can make this transition into something that will open up new doors of opportunity.

Uncover how to change your career today with our quick assessment quiz even if you don't know where to start - TRY PATHFINDER NOW

Written by

Naomi Rothwell-Boyd


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