How to make a midlife career change

how do you break out in a new direction later in life?

Time for a change

The workplace is now opening up for midlifers seeking to enter new careers, with social networking often the route to exciting new opportunities. Research shows that people are five times more likely to find a job through social networking than by using traditional recruitment routes.

Personal fulfilment remains a priority for those seeking a new career, with status and money often seen as less important.


People in their thirties have a tendency to be risk-averse, with concerns about money and status. Often with children and a mortgage, they frequently lack the energy to kick start a change. However, those who take the plunge reap the benefits of taking control and unleashing creativity. Many find the freedom of becoming their own boss liberating.


In this group, age anxiety becomes an issue, with people unsure about breaking away from comfortable jobs. However, going back to the beginning can lead to huge personal growth. Those who quit may find they never look back.

Fifties and beyond

This group is often the most adventurous, since money is not usually the main reason for change. More opportunities often follow on from that first brave step in a new direction.

Four ideas for new directions

1. Create your own business
Those wanting to be entrepreneurs can get a Government Start-Up Loan of £500 to £25,000, plus guidance and support on how to write a business plan. Applicants who are successful get a year’s free mentoring.

2. Examine the public sector
The public sector has embraced flexible working and offers the opportunity to make a difference. Stability and training are also features of the sector. offers advice on salaries, roles and potential career routes.

3. Teaching
Sizeable scholarships and tax-free bursaries are available for would-be teachers. With work experience of three or more years plus a degree, you can go down the salaried School Direct route; employment at a school where you work towards qualified teacher status (QTS). See

4. Coaching supplies courses for mentors, coaches and trainers, while life coach days are available from, and runs a variety of coaching programmes for business.

Do’s and don’ts

Attend seminars, network and read industry blogs. Look at for details on employers, and develop meaningful relationships by exploring LinkedIn.

Brainstorm new career routes, targeting those that are a pivot rather than a leap – don’t be unrealistic about your prospects. In addition to taking online careers tests, consider an appointment with a careers counsellor.

Don’t focus obsessively on a single job or organisation if the door isn’t opening. Also, don’t dismiss work experience. Shadow employees or work for free as a way into an organisation.

Meanwhile, don’t take rejection personally. View setbacks as a learning curve.

Be sure to surround yourself with a supportive team of fellow career changers, family and friends.

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