How To Make A Career Change At 40

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Table Of Contents

Making a career change at 40 can be within reach for you. It’s never too late to switch careers. The average age workers change careers is 39. So, if you’re thinking about changing career paths at 40, you’re right on target.

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Changing careers is a significant change in your life. It’s normal for you to have anxiety, stress, and overwhelm but, a career change can be exciting, too. Keep reading to get our top tips for a smooth career change.

If you are interested in a career change, start your job search on ZipRecruiter. ZipRecruiter is easy to use and free for job seekers!

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Advantages Of Making A Career Change At 40

Get excited about the prospect of starting a new career at 40. Here’s what you have to look forward to:

1. You Have Experience

First, if you’re 40, you have been working in the workforce for a few years already, most likely. That means you have experience and you’re already a professional. So, when it’s time for a mid-career change, you get to cut the line.

It’s not the same to change careers at 40 as it is in your twenties or thirties.

I think it’s easier.

You have skills, competencies, and most importantly, experience! That will make you stand out in the competition, compared to your peers vying for the same position.

Lean on these benefits. They’ll work in your favor!

2. The Chance To Face New Challenges

Nothing is better than feeling challenged at work. Lack of challenge in your job is a reason why people look for a new career.

You’ll get the opportunity to look forward to that new project, forming new work relationships, mastering your job duties, and more. It’s one of the best parts of working a new job.

3. More Money And More Benefits

Switching careers is one of the fastest ways to accelerate your salary. The average job increase from changing careers is around 5% to 10% but, you should aim for a 10% to 20% pay raise, according to several recent studies.

4. A Fresh Start At A New Company

You’ll have a chance to choose a company to work for that aligns with your values and you get a fresh start in a new career.

4 Things To Keep In Mind When Making A Career Change At 40

Changing careers can come with advantages and disadvantages. These are some things to keep in mind when changing careers at 40.

1. More Responsibility

You likely have more responsibilities at age 40 than you did at age 20.

You may have a mortgage, a family and other various responsibilities that you now have to consider.

You can still make a career change with responsibilities, it’s just vital to extend your runway and have a plan so you can still take care of your responsibilities during your career change.

2. The Potential For Added Stress

Changing jobs is one of the most stressful life events you can experience. There can be some things to look forward to like an increase in salary, better benefits, a flexible work climate, and more.

But, it may not come without its challenges.

Stress can come from:

  • Getting to know a new company’s way of working
  • Overall anxiety about working in a new career
  • The challenge of adapting to a new work culture
  • Meeting new people and working with a team you’ve never worked with before

Sometimes there’s no way around this. It’s an experience many people have when switching to a new job but some things can help:

  • Know that job anxiety is normal
  • You won’t always feel this way
  • Embracing the unknown can help you get past feelings of stress and anxiety in a new career

3. Difficulty Adapting To A New Work Environment

This can be a real challenge. You’re in a new role at a new company and it’s tough to adapt to your new working environment.

This transition is only temporary so, keep this in mind. If you’re struggling, reach out to management or peers for support, ask questions, and anticipate and embrace the change.

4. A Change In Career Could Lead To A Worse Situation

You’re looking to start a new career to escape the bad situation you had at your previous employer. One of the worst things that can happen is that your career change can put you in an even worse situation than what you left.

This is a valid fear and it can happen.

To prevent landing in this scenario, do your research when switching careers:

  • List your likes and dislikes at your current employer
  • Identify your strengths and skills
  • Research professions and employers, and
  • Be thorough in your career search.

These things can help prevent you transitioning to a career you hate and being put in a worse-off position than where you began.

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6 Tips For Changing Your Career At 40

If changing careers at 40 is something you want, don’t delay. It can only cause regret and continued fuel to your current work situation that is leaving you feeling unhappy and ready for change.

1. Update Your Resume

One of the first things you can do to prepare for changing careers is to update your resume. This will include adding new skills, achievements, and awards you received at your current job along with any new educational milestones reached or certifications obtained.

Consider working with a professional resume writer to produce a polished resume for you. These are the best resume writing services online. You can check them out and look at outsourcing your resume prep while you work on other areas to get you ready for your career switch.

2. Identify Your Transferable Skills

Identifying your transferable skills is a crucial part of the process. Some of the skills you have now may only apply to your current job.

It’s important to highlight the hard skills and soft skills you have that can transfer to your new career.

Some of the skills that can apply to various job industries include:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Collaboration and team-building

Listing out these skills can be helpful. Remember to think of an example of how you use each one. This is a common interview question that you can begin preparing for, in this step.

3. Upgrade Your Skills

Level up your skills. It might be a requirement for your new career. Upgrading your skill set is about adding additional skills to your toolbox. It’s upskilling.

Upskilling can include getting a college degree, gaining certification, practicing existing skills or developing new skills in an internship, learning new hard skills in a tech Bootcamp, etc.

Upgrading your skills can provide so many benefits. Not only will it make you more competent for the job in the eyes of the employer but it can give you a boost in your confidence, showing you have what it takes to do the new job.

4. Work with a Career Coach or Recruiter

As you ready yourself for changing careers, consider teaming up with a career coach or a job recruiter. These professionals are on your side and they work with you to find the job of your dreams.

They can help with:

  • Interview prep
  • Application materials
  • Cover letter and resume prep
  • Offering training on networking
  • Creating your professional presence online
  • Developing a career plan

If you’re looking for someone to keep you on the right path and to give you advice and strategies one-on-one during your transition, a career coach or recruiter is a smart choice.

5. Consider Starting Your Own Business

Starting your own business might be a career path you haven’t considered. A career change can be about changing companies, changing roles, and/or changing industries. Moving from working as an employee to a freelancer or business owner is an example of this.

CareerCloud Executive Editor and Podcast Host, Mike Gardon says this about taking the lowest risk path to make a career pivot. “Change happens: either we choose it or it is forced upon us… Whether you want to change jobs, change companies, or blow it all up and work for yourself, change takes some thought and planning.”

Lastly, starting your career search is one of the biggest challenges workers face. You can want a career change, you’ve identified why it’s important and rationalized why it makes sense but if you don’t take action, you’re never going to achieve it.

So, start the process.

Follow the above tips to get yourself ready and then when it’s time to apply for jobs, check out these places to find your next career…

If you don't know how to identify your transferable skills or who you should work with, consider joining The Break Community to network with like-minded invidiuals who are in a similar situation. The community is lead by Mike Gardon who has changed his career 6+ times!

Best Places To Find Your Next Career

These websites are the best place to find your next career at 40.


ZipRecruiter is an online job search website where you can:

  • Search for jobs
  • Review salary insights
  • Read jobseeker reviews

It’s a great place to start your career search.  You can also upload your resume to ZipRecruiter’s resume database so that recruiters and employers can reach out to you.

For more information, check out our ZipRecruiter review.

Discover Your Dream Job

Find jobs near you and apply with 1 click! New jobs posted daily.

get started with ziprecruiter
ZipRecruiter logo


LinkedIn is a career-based social network. It’s a great resource for finding a new career and has tools to:

  • Search and apply for jobs
  • Create a professional profile
  • Network with peers online
  • Get access to insights, employer information, and more

For more information, check out our LinkedIn review.


Glassdoor is a career resource and job search website that gives job seekers access to valuable information like:

  • Job postings
  • Employee salaries and job reviews
  • Employer insights
  • Salary calculator

For more information, check out our Glassdoor review.

The Bottom Line

Changing careers at any age can be scary but, making this switch in your forties is one of the best times to move into a new career path. In your forties, moving into a fresh career in just about any industry is possible.

To get you ready for this change in your life, read about how to update your resume for a career change.

When it’s time to start your career search, head to ZipRecruiter.