Are you over 40 and wondering if it’s too late for a career change? 

The answer is a big, loud NO! 

During COVID, unemployment rose while some industries fell completely (poor tourism). As a result, there’s been a common trend: big careers changes or – the latest term – ‘career pivots’. Career changes or pivots were not unheard of before COVID, but the extent of the pandemics disruption to our daily lives has encouraged people to take bold leaps they might not have otherwise.  

So if you’re:

  • Unemployed or disengaged from your current job and want to try something new
  • Working or trained in an industry that’s now struggling due to the pandemic
  • Dreading getting up in the morning because you have to go to a job you dislike (strongly) 

… a career change could be just as good as a holiday. Here’s some advice on how to do it. 

Explore first, then test cheaply

The first thing to do if you’re thinking about making a career pivot is researching the job, industry or field you’re interested in. Don’t get too bogged down in it, but find out what’s involved. 

It’s a good sign if you get excited and motivated while researching, and it’s likely worth ‘testing’ to see if it’s right for you and your skillset. We recommend ‘testing’ cheaply before making big or costly commitments and/or investments so that you can be sure it’s going to be worth it.  

For example: could you try an internship? Or do a week of work experience to see if it really is the field for you? Most businesses won’t say no to a free helping hand! (An internship or work experience might be something we can help with, too.) 

Decide what’s best for you

Only you know what you want. Once you’ve done your research and gotten a feel for the industry, do a ‘gut check’ to make sure that this is something you want. 

If it is, great! Get started. 

If it’s not, that’s fine too – head back to the drawing board. This time you have an advantage as you know what you don’t want. (Knowing what you don’t want can be just as helpful as knowing what you do.) 

Take a ‘skills inventory’ 

Do an ‘inventory’ to find out what transferable skills you already have, as well as identify the skills you might need to develop. You may also need to learn some specific programs or technology too – but don’t fret! It’s very easy to learn an array of programs online. 

If you’re not sure what skills are needed, have a look at position descriptions for the types of jobs you’d like. Job ads will list the skills and experience they expect. (Ignore the ‘years of experience’, and focus on the ‘skills’ part.)

Create a plan

Once you know what skills you need, you can start to find courses and training. If you need to keep working at your current job while training, search for online courses that allow you to complete them at any time or offer night classes.

Create a bit of a plan for what you need to learn and when the course or training program is available so you can work out what steps you need to take. If it’s the experience that you need, create a list of some businesses you could reach out to and map out a plan for the best way to get your foot in the door. 

It could be worth chatting to someone in the industry (if you haven’t already) about what would be helpful.

Our Job Coaches can also help you find training opportunities and come up with a roadmap – just reach out to us to have a chat about how we work together.

Need some inspiration?

If you don’t believe us that age is no barrier, here are 14 household names that didn’t have success until later in life: 

  1. The Fishers started The Gap in their forties. 
  2. Alan Rickman got his big break at 42 years old. 
  3. Viola Davis got her big break at 43 years old. 
  4. Henry Ford was 45 years old when the Ford T came out. 
  5. Suzanne Collins was 50 years old when she wrote The Hunger Games”
  6. Leonardo Da Vinci was 51 years old when he painted the Mona Lisa.
  7. Ray Kroc was 53 years old when he bought the McDonalds Franchise and took it to unprecedented levels.
  8. Dr. Seuss was 54 years old when he wrote The Cat in the Hat”.
  9. Judy Dench was in her sixties when her film career took off. 
  10. Colonel Harland Sanders was 61 years old when he started the KFC Franchise
  11. J.R.R Tolkien was 62 years old when the Lord of the Ring books came out
  12. Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book, which became Little House on the Prarie, when she was 65 years old. 
  13. Nelson Mandela was 76 when he became President.
  14. Sir Tom Moore was 100 years old when he raised £33m for NHS charities and was knighted for his efforts and service.