Career decisions, especially when they involve career change can be difficult and career change over 40 is no exception. This is the first in a series of articles to help you find the right career and is an overview of a 6 step plan to help you change career over 40. Each step will be discussed in more detail in a further article.
Step #1 Assess Your Current Situation
When you first started out in your teens or twenties, you had a clean slate on which you design your career. But now that you have reached mid life, you have a wealth of new experiences which relate specifically to the workplace. You also have gained many skills and general life experiences since you left school or college and these will also be relevant in your new career choice.
Step #2 Choose Your Ideal Work Location
Think about where you would like to work. You can start out with general ideas about location and refine this when you have finished step 3. So do you want to work in the city or the countryside, inside or out, at home or abroad? Or would you like a job which involves moving around? Would this be within a small neighbourhood or travelling to different parts of the country or would you like to be going abroad periodically?
Step #3 Decide What You Want To Do
Based on all of your work and general life experiences so far, you can write a description of the ideal job you would like to have. This will include the aspects of your current or previous jobs which you would like to continue and particular skills you want to go on using and developing. Include new skills you would like to learn.
Step #4 Research
Have a look for jobs and careers which match the things you most want to do. So if you are a teacher and want a new career which involves some travelling and perhaps the chance to learn a new language, you might start by searching for alternative jobs for teachers. Once you have a list of possibilities, you could search for jobs abroad and see if you can match up your search results.
Or if you have enjoyed bringing up you children and play a musical instrument, you could search for jobs with children and music.
Be creative with your search terms, combine several different skills and see what you come up with.
Go to government run career websites and look through jobs which fit in with your ideas. You can look at broad fields such as education or medicine or technology and you will find a great range of possibilities, plus job descriptions and details of training, pay and prospects.
Step #5 Putting It All Together
This is where you put what you want next to the careers you have found and sift through the results. There will be some careers which don’t hold any appeal and others which may not work for practical reasons. But if you have done a thorough search, you should have come up with several possible options.
Once you have narrowed the field to two or three alternatives, do some further in-depth research. Go to websites of companies which work in these fields and find out as much as you can. If possible, talk to people who are already involved in these careers so that you can get a clearer picture of what is involved.
Another possibility is to go and talk to a careers advisor or visit a careers library and read books specifically written for those wishing to enter the career.
Step #6 Create Your Action Plan and Take Action
Write a detailed plan which lists all the steps you have to take to reach your goal, how you plan to finance any training and how you will fit all these changes into your life. You may need to discuss this with members of your family as it could mean significant changes for them too.