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Andrew Arkley|February 6, 2023

Career Change At 40: How To Thrive In Your New Career

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A career change at 40 is a life-changing decision. 

Whether you have discovered a new passion for teaching, finance, or hating your boss – here is all you need to know about making a career change at 40

Beginning a new career at 40

Many of us are forced to choose a career path at 18 years old. Our passions, skills and personalities change by the age of 40. 

According to a survey done by Work & Learn Institute, approximately 34% of the UK adult workforce want to change careers but believe they lack the necessary skills. 

With the correct guidance, anyone, at any age can change careers. 

Planning your next career move

Once you have made the decision to change careers, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What career do I want to have? 
  • Do I have the necessary skills for this career? 
  • What is my plan to begin my new career? 

Think about your old career versus your ideal one. What are the differences between these two paths? 


My Current CareerI am currently an accountant with a UK Law & Finance degree. I have 17 years of experience in my field. 
My Ideal CareerI would like to become a fashion designer. I have basic fashion design knowledge but I need more professional training.

Once you have differentiated your old career from your new career, assess your skills and begin working on them.

Ensure that you do research before making your next move. For example, what is the minimum requirement to become a fashion designer? How can I get more training and knowledge before starting? 

Jobs to consider when changing careers at 40

Job satisfaction is important to every employee. According to Picked, 3 out of 4 employees in the UK are unhappy with their current job. 

This statistic is why most people want a career change.

When changing careers, it is important to choose a satisfying career path. Data released by Glassdoor indicates the following jobs ranked highly on job satisfaction in the UK (2022):

  • Corporate recruiter 
  • Full stack developer 
  • HR manager
  • HR business partner 
  • Data scientist
  • Marketing manager 
  • UX designer 

You may have to study before a career change in order to meet educational requirements. This will be beneficial and prepare you to switch careers.

If you do not wish to train or study a new course, consider these 12 careers that do not require you to have a qualification in the UK. 

Creating your career change CV

One of the most important tools to help you apply for your new job is your CV. 

Haven’t looked at your CV in a few years? Not a problem!

Here are some tips for writing a career change CV along with a career change cover letter.

It is recommended by PurpleCV writing professionals to start a new CV. Your CV should encompass your professional life and include your motivation for the new job. 

If you feel like there are gaps in your required qualifications, this is completely normal as your previous experience is from a different field. 

Highlight your transferable skills as well as your new skills in your CV.

Benefits of a career change at 40

A feeling of accomplishment 

The decision to leave your current job is difficult, so be proud of yourself for taking a risk and accomplishing your career goals. 

You might experience fear of change, but you can successfully achieve your career goals before hitting retirement age.

Past experiences will aid you

A career change at 40 means that you could have almost two decades of experience in the working world.  

This advantage will help you to navigate your current career and boost professional development. 

Utilise your existing skills

Your new career will require new skills. 

As a mature professional, you should have picked up transferable skills. These are basic skills that can be used in any job, for example, communication skills and time management skills. 

Your career pivot may call for specific skills, however, having these transferable skills is an added bonus to impress your hiring manager.

Preparing for the career change

A career change at 40 does not occur without some major change in your life. Ensure that you are ready for some of the following changes: 

Adjust your salary expectations

According to a study performed by the Office For National Statistics, job changers experienced an increase in earnings compared to employees who stayed within their industry. 

However, this increase is not always immediate. Depending on your new career path, you may have to spend money on studying or relocating before getting your dream job. 

It is also possible that you take a pay cut due to starting an entry level position within your new industry. 

A switch of routine 

With a career change, your routine is likely to change. 

If you are used to being at the office every day, you may have to adapt to going to college or attending training sessions instead. 

Your work/life balance could be interrupted. It is important to make time for yourself and work at your own pace.

Working in a new environment

A new career comes with a change of scenery. 

A study done by Aviva states that one of the main reasons for career change is the preference to work from home. 

It can be difficult to adjust to working from home, or in a new office with new people.

Find out more about working from home tax relief.

Your new workplace may have different rules which may be hard to adapt to. 

Feel confident about your career switch

A career transition can leave you feeling confused and stressed.

Consider the following tips to help you on your new career journey:

  • Do not compare yourself to others. It is possible that you could compete with younger or more experienced individuals for a particular role. Do not let this discourage you. 
  • Trust your decision. Many people feel anxious when making major life decisions. Remind yourself why you have made this career change and how it will benefit you.   
  • Do not let your age define you. A mid-life career change may require additional learning. Switching careers has no age limit and you are never too old to learn.
  • Build a support system. Family and friends can offer you valuable support. Speak to your loved ones about how you are feeling or get professional help to deal with overwhelming emotions. 

Summary: a career change at 40

Undoubtedly, a career change at 40 is a major decision to make. Your new career path should lead you to your dream job.

Taking the above into consideration, do your research and be confident in your next career move. 

Ensure that you have set clear goals and you are prepared for a change of scenery.

Explore new career ideas, eliminate self-doubt and allow yourself to thrive in your new career at 40. 

For more information and assistance with your career change CV, get in touch with our PurpleCV professionals today.

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