A career change at 45 may seem frightening and difficult. At this age, most people have financial obligations, and changing jobs means you’ll have to spend time and money to learn new skills. However, if you’re looking for a career change at 45, this guide can help. Job seekers can leave a current role and find high-quality potential employers.
Just because you’re middle-aged doesn’t mean you should feel like you don’t have the option of a fresh start. A change of career at 45 can be transformative, gratifying, and lucrative. The majority of midlife career changers are delighted with their new jobs. Below, you will find step-by-step guidance to help you change jobs and the best career change at 45 ideas.
Why Start a New Career at 45?
The common reasons people are considering new careers at this age are flexibility, financial incentives, employee perks, a better life-work balance, and fulfillment in the workplace. A 2021 survey from CNBC and gender equity firm Catalyst shows that 50 percent of workers in the US want to change careers.
Based on the American Institute for Economic Research’s “New Careers for Older Workers” research, 82 percent of survey respondents aged 45 and older reported successfully transitioning to a new career path. Even if a career change is difficult, it’s not impossible, and it can be worth it.
Signs You Need a Career Change at 45
Changing jobs at 45 may feel risky and stressful, but it can also be exciting and rewarding. Career Karma created a Career Transitioner Assessment to help career changers succeed. Below are some of the most common signs that you need to change your current career.
- You avoid talking about your job. If you never want to talk about work or find yourself complaining when you do, you might be in the wrong position or even the wrong industry.
- You have job burnout. This feeling of physical or emotional tiredness comes with a sense of diminished accomplishment and a feeling that you’re losing your identity.
- Your work tasks and responsibilities just aren’t for you. You might be good at your job, but if you don’t like it, it won’t bring you any fulfillment.
- You are not satisfied with the outcomes or your work. Maybe you chose your current job to please others, or took a promotion that came your way, and now you feel stuck and confused.
- Your dream job is realistic. If your professional objective is not only feasible but also sensible based on your interests, skills, and willingness to work, you should go for it.
How to Change Careers at 45
Leaving an industry where you may have spent a large chunk of your professional life can be frightening. However, you’re not alone in your desire to leave your previous career. While you’re planning your next move, following the steps below will help you increase your chances of completing a successful career shift.
Evaluate Your Skills
Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses and look for ways you can make the most of them. If you’re a self-aware person, you should be able to self-assess your skills. If you’re having difficulty, you might want to consult a career coach. It’s vital to connect your existing skills to your interests and career goals. Remember, being skilled at something doesn’t mean you will enjoy it.
When it comes to making a midlife career move, focus on the transferable skills you already have as you consider new career options. These will include soft skills like organization, teamwork, creativity, and leadership. Consider other jobs where these abilities could come into play.
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The average bootcamp grad spent less than six months in career transition, from starting a bootcamp to finding their first job.
Develop New Skills
When seeking a new career, you should be open to learning new skills and participating in on-the-job training. Don’t let one missing skill deter you from pursuing your dream job. Make an action plan to deal with any gaps in your experience or skillset. When you find a job post that appeals to you, carefully consider the qualities, requirements, and experience the post calls for.
If the job calls for a specific qualification, there are various ways you can get one. These include short courses, additional training, self-study learning, and online bootcamps. If you’re interested in breaking into a new job market because it comes with a high average salary, you should be conscious of the demands and additional strain that the job may place on you.
Prepare Your Finances
Changing careers at 45 might be daunting as it could mean taking a pay cut or starting from the bottom. Creating a safety net before you take the plunge can help. Put some money aside and create a financial buffer so you won’t be as stressed when the time comes to change careers.
If you’re 45, it might feel riskier to change jobs because you likely have a lot of financial responsibilities. To avoid extra pressure, make a list of your expenses and determine how much money you’ll need to cover them. You might also want to assess your lifestyle and determine what your priorities are.
Make Use of Your Network
According to a LinkedIn global survey, nearly 80 percent of workers believe professional networking is critical to career success. When it comes to taking on a new profession, don’t be afraid to seek help from friends and former colleagues. Some of them may be able to put you in touch with people who can help you locate the ideal job.
You can also talk to previous business associates, bosses you still get along with, and acquaintances you’ve met in your past roles. Find out what companies are recruiting, learn about the work culture, and decide whether your talents and expertise would be relevant to the company.
Present Your Age as an Advantage
When applying for a new job, you should focus on all of the positive aspects of your previous positions, explain what you can add to the company, and be proactive. Don’t be afraid to pull from your life experience and soft skills. Communication skills can be a particular advantage when switching careers at a later stage of life.
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Employers are prohibited from discriminating against workers aged 40 and up under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Although age discrimination still happens in the workplace, there is no legal requirement to reveal your age on your resume. Concentrate on your previous roles and use your age to your advantage.
How to Change Careers at 45 with No Degree
The need for a degree deters many people who want to change careers at 45. Although reskilling can be daunting, some rewarding jobs require less than six months of training. Below are some tips on how to change your career when you’re 45 and don’t have a degree.
- Arrange informational interviews. These are interactions with people in your ideal career who can help you acquire information on prospective occupations before you leap into one.
- Define your transferable skills. Match your skills with the skills required for your target job. You’ll notice how much overlap there is, particularly among the in-demand soft skills.
- Fill in your skill gaps. Don’t be discouraged if your existing skillset falls short of the new job’s criteria. In some industries, closing that gap can be done in a relatively short time frame.
- Get some experience. Gaining relevant work experience will strengthen your chances of launching a new career. Try freelancing or volunteering to add some experience to your resume.
- Keep upskilling. Remember that nothing is set in stone. As you follow your new job path, you’ll continue learning more and developing your abilities.
Best Careers to Transition into at 45
|Career||Job Outlook||Average Salary||Requirements|
|Sales Manager||7%||$132,290||Bachelor’s degree, previous sales experience|
|Personal Financial Advisor||5%||$89,330||Bachelor’s degree, certification|
|Web Developer||13%||$77,200||Expertise in web development, strong portfolio|
|Writer||9%||$67,120||College degree in English, communications, or journalism|
|Real Estate Agent||4%||$51,220||A number of hours of real estate or college courses, licensure exam|
High Paying Jobs That Are Great for Career Changers: A Closer Look
A sales manager’s job duties are to motivate and guide a sales team to achieve its objectives. This includes hiring and training salespeople, setting quotas, reviewing and modifying performance, and developing sales processes. Many sales managers also must travel regularly as part of their job.
According to PayScale, most sales managers are happy with their jobs. According to survey responses on PayScale, the job has a satisfaction rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Many sales managers say balancing work and their personal life is challenging, but they accept it as part of the job.
Personal Financial Advisor
A personal financial advisor’s primary duties are to assess individuals’ financial needs and help them make decisions about investments, taxes, and insurance. Advisors can assist clients in achieving both short and long-term objectives, such as budgeting for education and investing for retirement.
Most web developers are happy with their jobs, thanks to a high income and a decent work-life balance. To achieve this balance, web developers must avoid letting their work consume their personal time. Most web developers also have a high annual salary and access good medical care and networking events.
Writers are typically responsible for writing, editing, and proofreading texts. They also conduct research, collaborate with other experts, engage in promoting and disseminating their work, and seek out publishing deals. The position is low-stress, offers a decent work-life balance, flexibility, promising prospects, and opportunities for advancement and job growth.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent’s primary duties are to assist clients in selling houses and to find houses for clients. They also organize open houses and give clients tours of homes they may want to purchase. Real estate brokers help clients through the negotiation process to ensure that they get the best price for their home.
Is It Too Late to Make a Career Change at 45?
No, it is not too late to make a career change at 45. Most midlife career changers claim that they were able to successfully transition to a new job. Pursuing a new career at 45 can be life-changing, fulfilling, and rewarding.
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Before making a decision, you should analyze your skills, connect your existing skills to your work interests, and fill in the skill gaps. Keep in mind that many high-paying careers don’t require a degree. Plus, there are various online resources, courses, bootcamps, and self-study websites that can help you get reskilled in no time.
Career Change at 45 FAQ
To change careers at 45, you need to take a look at your skills and align them with the requirements of your dream job. Then learn the necessary new skills, and begin your job search.
No, 45 is not too old for a career change. Most midlife career changers claimed to have successfully transitioned to a new position. If you have good leadership skills and organizational skills, you can succeed in a career change.
If you’re considering quitting your job, it’s probably time for a career change. Some common signs that you need a change are if you avoid talking about your job and you don’t feel satisfied with your work tasks.
The top five high-paying jobs that are great for career changers at 45 are real estate agent, web developer, personal financial advisor, writer, and sales manager. However, we recommend that you choose a new career based on your skills and personal interests.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.