How to Change Careers at 40: Top 12 Smart Ideas to Use

By | August 28, 2023
career change at 40
Changing a career at 40 can be easy with adequate planning.

How to Change Careers at 40: Top 12 Smart Ideas to Use

Many people who have reached their forties have always desired, before retiring, to spend that time in a career with less pressure and more time, for them to have a fulfilled and well-spent life.

A new survey reveals that almost a third (29%) of pre-retirees plan to change careers in the next five years, and according to a survey of 1,006 people, ages 40 to 59, commissioned by Life Reimagined and USA TODAY, their major reasons for making a career switch is to have less stress and work-life balance.

The result of a certain research states that thirty-two percent of respondents who are employed or looking for work have gone through a major career change with the most common reason being the desire to do something different with their life, and mostly this number falls within 40s.

12 Smart Ways to Change Career in Your 40s

1. Be careful when choosing a career at 40. You need to really decide on what to do when choosing a career at the age of 40, because it may be the last time you take such a big risk.

Give more time to planning it instead of rushing into a job or business. It is better to decide on one thing to do before thinking of quitting your current job or business.

2. Update your resume. You have to update your resume listing all the skills you have accumulated over the years that may help you land a new job at 40. Also, take stock of the educational and/or work experience requirements.

It is possible to take a few college classes, or even go back to school, which have been made easier these days.

There are many part time online programs, certificate, degrees and classes that can help you with a move to a new career at 40.

3. Choose a career for passion and not for money. If you do not have the passion to learn new things, you will likely end up not achieving it.

You will be happy to give more time learning what you enjoy, but when you choose a career because of the money you think you will make and not the passion for it, it will be difficult to learn the skills needed to succeed in it.

Therefore, build your career around your passion and not based on what someone tells you or on its benefits, and you will have a successful career change in your 40s.

4. Tap into experts’ advice and books. Tapping into various experts’ advice and books on the subject of changing careers at 40 will give you different ideas of the most appropriate approaches to use wading in the mud of changing careers at this age.

It will not be so easy but keep up with the smart idea of getting knowledge from varieties of books and experts.

5. Consider being your own boss. The world is no longer a safe place for most careers in paid employment.

Sending out resumes and applications for companies to hire you may not give you the freedom you desire to have in your career, like freedom to make your own decisions; instead, you might consider working for yourself.

6. Look out for alternative programs. There are many firms that have alternative internal career opportunities. You can find out more about this from your current employer’s HR department.

There is also the possibility of government grants and other programs which may support career and academic development for people changing careers in their forties. A lot of these programs are designed by the government to help those looking for a way to reduce the severity of their present situation.

7. Work and learn. Many who have reached their 40s are now thinking of how they can earn and learn at the same time.

Forty is an age when you might be confronted by several problems, so you might not have the full time to switch over at once to another career. It is therefore better to work part time while building a new career.

8. Avoid taking a regrettable action. According to professional life coach, Joan Bolton-Frost, before you quit your job, first explore other avenues.

For instance, if you are interested in the media, you should know whether going into media profession will attract the same amount of pleasure you enjoyed in your old job.

If the advantages of your new career do not surpass that of your current work, then there is tendency you will not stay too long in the career.

It has been recorded that most people who have rushed into a career have rushed out.

9. Invest in education. There is no time too late for education. Some people in their 40s may attend night schools to get some education, which may not be a degree, except you are going for a career that requires higher educational qualification and certification.

There are hands-on practical internship programs that when attended will equip you with enough knowledge and experience to move on with your new career.

The internet is a global village where everything is within your reach. YouTube offers free videos where you learn whatever interests you, and is also an educational site to aid the process.

10. Voluntary service. Rendering voluntary services to industries and companies is a great way of boosting your CV and making connections if you lack experience.

Many employers look for workers with years of experience, so if you are thinking of switching to another career in your forties and you do not have adequate experience in the new career, one way of getting the needed experience is through offering voluntary service in the new industry.

11. Affiliate with a company. To affiliate means to partner with in order to sell products or services based on commission.

Building a business career from scratch at 40 may take a lot of time, that’s why you may need an affiliate business.

Running an affiliate business offers immense flexibility; you can choose or drop any product or company you want to at any time without negatively affecting your business.

Debbie Turner (the owner of did it when she wanted to change her career at the age of 40, and it worked for her.

She started a home business with a travel club membership product and became an affiliate for Global Resorts Network in November 2007. Today she sells hundreds of the lifetime travel club membership and generates good income from it.

12. Stop giving excuses. There are many people who have changed their careers at 40, and they succeeded against all odds while more people are taking steps towards switching their own careers.

According to statistics, 30 percent of all U.S. workers are currently interested in switching to a new career in their forties.


Changing careers at 40 can make a great difference in your life, so do not delay the process but take action at once.

For most people, that is just the issue – that they never start or fully engage with their career change project – which is never a matter of age!

Forty is really not too old to start a career! If you want to remain unhappy and low-esteemed, don’t take action! But if not, start the process now!