Changing Careers

How to make a career change at 30 or 40

May 27, 2020

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Prefer to read? The transcript is below 🙂

Hey, it’s Iris and welcome back to my channel

In today’s video, I’m going to answer a frequently asked question about making a career change. It is: I’m… in my 30s/40s, am I too old to change careers? Am I too old to go back to school or to start in a field I have zero experience in? 

Spoiler alert: NOOOO, you’re not too old! 

But before I tell you why, and how to make a career change in your 30s or 40s, please like this video if you like it and subscribe to my channel. It’ll help me to get this video out to more people, AND it tells me exactly what type of content you’re finding helpful.

Alright, so back to that question ‘am I too old to change careers in my 30s or 40s?’… I want to reassure you that you’re not. I’ve helped hundreds of people change careers in their 30s and 40s. 

The first thing you need to do is change the story in your head that’s telling you you’re too old. 

Because the truth is, when you’re in your 30s or 40s you’ve still got, what…30, 40ys left in your working life? How would you feel if I’d tell you “you know what, you’re going to spend all those years in the same industry that you’re in now? Doing the same kind of work that you’re doing now?” 

Seriously. How does that thought make you feel? 

So instead of asking yourself “am I too old to change careers in my 30s or 40s?” ask yourself “What do I want to with the rest of my career? What do I want to do in the *hopefully* 30-40yrs I’ve got left my working life?

Do I want to do the same or do I want to do something different?”

And if there’s some part of you that’s questioning your current career, then listen to that. Sometimes our hearts know ourselves better than our minds do. 

Okay, so if you’ve decided it’s time for a change, and you know roughly what you want to do (if you don’t, hop on over to this video), but you worry about the logistics of it – how to make it happen, start by asking yourself this:

What skills, experience, knowledge, and connections do you bring with you that can help you progress quicker in the field that you’re moving into? 

Realise that you’re not starting from scratch – you’re not a graduate, starting with zero experience. You’ve got 10 , 20, maybe coming up to 30yrs of professional experience under your belt. 

Don’t underestimate the skills, experience, and knowledge you’ve built during that time. You’ll be able to pick things up much quicker, and you’ll bring some valuable new insights into the field that you’re moving into. 

Sometimes it’s really helpful, especially when you’re mid-career, to use skills, knowledge, and experience you already have to get a foot in the door of a company you’d like to work for or to get into a new field/sector, even if you’d really like to do something else in the longer term. 

So let’s say you’ve been working as an accountant in Finance, but you now want to move into the tech startup-scene. It could be a smart step to find work as an accountant or something closely related to that in the tech startup-scene, so you can start to build your network and knowledge of that field, and then transfer to a different type of role, in business development, later on. 

Or maybe you’ve been working in Marketing in telecommunications, but you want to move into the health and fitness industry – though not necessarily in a Marketing role. It could pay off to use your skills and experience in Marketing to get a foot in the door at, say Peloton, and then work from there to transition into a different kind of role, whether that’s PR, project management or Sales. 

The secret is to see your career change less as one big change, but more as a series of small, incremental steps and changes. 

Finally, a couple of things to consider. 

1. Don’t limit your thinking to full-time employment only.

Consider consulting, volunteering, part-time work, temp work, and self-employment as potential career options. Or, perhaps a combination of these could be the best option to achieve your professional and financial goals. 

2. Avoid the traditional job seekers process

This is where you find a job post online, put your resume together, apply, hoping to get an interview, land the job). The problem is that many large companies use a so-called ATS for their hiring process, and these systems are biased towards traditional candidates. If you want to know more about what an ATS is, and how it works, check out THIS video after you’ve finished watching this one. The way around it is to use your network. Speak to people who work in the field/sector that you’re interested in, or with people who work at companies that you’re interested in to find out more about what kind of roles and opportunities exist. 

So there you have it, my answer to the question “am I too old to change careers in my 30s or 40s?”

No, you’re absolutely not. You’ve got another 20, 30, maybe even 40 years to do something with your career that really matters to you.

Don’t settle for something if you keep on asking yourself ‘what’s it all for…?’ or ‘is this all there is…?’. 

Thank you so much for watching. 

If you liked this video, click that thumbs up button, subscribe and hit the bell next to it to get a notification of when I post new videos (which is every Wednesday). 

See you again next week! 

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