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billcat3.gif (20104 bytes)Can You Change Your Career After 40?

Changing your career at any age can be a little nerve rattling; however, as adults approach the age of 40 several factors keep many in jobs they would otherwise let go. These factors include age discrimination, opportunity to further education, financial resources, and much needed encouragement to get started. After working with people in their careers for over 20 years I have seen numerous people successfully change careers after 40. The key to these changes has often entailed:


1. Taking an inventory of skills

Here is a simple way for you to get started. Take a blank sheet of paper and draw a very large T on the paper. Write on the left side of the T, skills or jobs you have most enjoyed over the years. On the other half of the T, skills or jobs you did not enjoy. Consider your past work history, hobbies, and volunteer experiences when filling in your "T" area. Here are a few examples: Working with people, leisure activities, working with things, data, instructing others, artistic, mechanical, scientific, managing, influencing, sales, working with your hands, job location. Be as specific as you can with your likes and dislikes.

For a more precise tool in determining careers that you may be compatible with, see three examples of interest inventories and a fun career quizzes booklet on our special offer to individuals page. Also get the Quick Job Search Guide With it!  Click here to go to our Special Offers Page Career Connections Jr. Career Assessment Software for Middle school

2. To get additional career ideas

Research the classified Ads - Even consider local businesses that you feel you would enjoy working at or even owning.  Then make a note of them, and add them to your list of potential careers to further research.

In the Millennium new career opportunities are opening up everyday, and many new small businesses are emerging! Consider how you may use your skills and expertise to take advantage of this growing need in society.  Working from your home and starting out small can be fun, too.

3. Choose a career you can enjoy, not one that is only directed at making money

You will need passion and enthusiasm to learn new things, and to push yourself to greater heights.   The more you enjoy the work you choose, the more time you will spend at it. This can help you increase your income potential in the long run.  Why not create a life based on the best person you want to be not what someone else tells you to be.  Life really can be fun if you create income based on what you truly enjoy doing. 

4. After researching careers you find interesting, narrow down your career selections.

Learn more about each career you find interesting. Helpful books for in-depth career research can be located at your local library or on-line. These books include: The Enhanced Occupational Outlook Handbook, The O*NET Dictionary of Occupational Titles, The Guide for Occupational Exploration (EGOE or GOE abbreviated) or the New Guide for Occupational Exploration.  The O*NET Dictionary of Occupational Titles is the standard of the industry at this time for research in occupations. 

Click on the links above to see what these books look like so you have an idea when you go to your local library.  Or you can click on the links below to go to these sites on-line to further research careers that that you may be better suited to.  These occupational reference books show specific's about an occupation; necessary skills, necessary education, basic salary ranges and much more.  So referencing these important guides can give you a better idea of what can be expected and skills necessary for a particular occupation.

The Occupational Outlook Handbook  http://stats.bls.gov/oco/home.htm (OOH) Online,

 O*NET Online

5. Paint a clear picture in your mind of what it is you really would choose to do in your career. 

It is very important to paint a picture in your mind of the career you would like.  Be very specific, right down to how close the your job is to you, along with the amount of income you would like to earn from it, down to what your office looks like, whether it is indoors or outdoors, the kind of people you would like to work around.  Paint every tiny detail in your picture in your mind of your idea career, a career that you can really love. 

A clear picture in your mind of what you like to do will bring it to you faster, as you are the instrument that brings change to your life.  See yourself doing it already, put forth strong emotion in your thoughts when you think about it, as again, you ARE the instrument that brings change to your life.  So the better you research your likes and dislikes, and the specific's of certain occupations, you can then choose better what it is you would like to do, as well, pin-pointing a career you can love will help to give you clarity in bringing it to your life.  See our special offers page for an interest inventory that can help you to  narrow down occupations that you may be better be suited, or look on-line for one.  Perhaps you already have a career in mind, in that case you are already on your way.

6. Put your plan together

Take time to put your plan together now that you've done your research.  Do you need more education, additional financial resources, a new resume, support from your family members, an intermediate job? Write a plan of action and then follow it step by step. 


7.  Financial Resources

If you're struggling for income don't forget some companies have opportunities for career transition within a company, ask the human resources office if any such program exist within your company.  As well, you may want to look into government grants or other government programs for financial/educational opportunities.  Our government has many programs to help those out financially and educationally to promote growth in each economic development area.  Ask your local workforce Center or One-Stop Center for more information on local government sponsored programs.  Research on-line for possible grants that may apply to you.

Changing your career at 40 is very possible. Remember changing your career can also include starting your own business. Focus on the skills you enjoy using the most, and build a career based solidly on your likes.

Changing a career is a process that can be fun, self awakening, and can give you a new zeal for living. Get started today and ask the people who care the most about you to give you the support you need.

Also after you get done reading this article I would also highly recommend you read another exceptional article on career changing later in life by Sue Fredrick called "Using your Pain as Fuel."   Truly inspiring and very helpful.   Also if you are needing serious help one-on-one career counseling you may also want contact this site Brilliant Work click here.  You can also check with other Career Counselors on-line.

If you need further help contact your local college and ask if they provide career counseling or consult the yellow pages and look under vocational counseling or career counseling.  To see other career assessments online to help plan your career click here.