How To Make A Successful Career Pivot Over The Age Of 40

Rebecca Bosl

Career Strategist and Executive Resume Writer at Stunning, top-tier resumes that land offers in as little as 4 weeks.


Feeling the need to transition to a new career after age 40?  You’re not alone.

While you can make a career change and leave one path to go on a completely different and divergent one, a career pivot is a bit less dramatic. In a career change, you’re often starting all over from scratch, whereas a career pivot is when you leave one path to join a parallel path.

To successfully execute a career pivot, you use the skills you already have and apply them to a new career. Leveraging a current skill set into a new career allows you to make rapid progress in a new area, which is much better than starting all over at the beginning.

The career pivot process is simple, but it takes much thought:

1. Discover related passions. “What do I love about my current career, and what other careers leverage those passions? What do I want to do next?”

2. Leverage related skill sets. “What skills do I enjoy using (and what skills am I great at), and what other career fields leverage those skills?”

3. Brainstorm how to put these together in a new career. Think about how to get employed or make money doing these things.

I’ll relay the steps I took to pivot to a new career.

I had a market research career and started my own business. I enjoyed aspects of what I did, but it was very isolating. I’d have an hour-long conversation with a client then scurry away in my home office designing surveys, drawing graphs and writing reports. I had a career but knew I needed to move on.

Step 1: What do you love about your career, and what do you dislike about your career?

I identified that my favorite part of my research work was the strategy portion: discovering what made products and companies unique and different and why people would want to buy them. I also loved when I could conduct in-depth interviews — talking to people, getting to know their “story.” I also loved writing reports. I disliked all of the alone time and wanted to interact more with others.

Step 2: What skill set do you have?

I had a strategic branding mindset. I was able to determine what made a product unique or different and why it would sell. I really liked conducting in-depth interviews and having long conversations with others. I was also really good at brainstorming new ideas. As a researcher, I was familiar with hundreds of job roles and industries with a strong business acumen. And, I really loved to write.

Step 3: What other careers would use your passion and skills?

With others, I put together skills and passions to identify new career areas for them. But I already knew I enjoyed resume writing and coaching.  While running my research business, I started taking resume writing and career coaching courses on the side, as I enjoyed doing them and didn’t realize it could be a viable business. I thought I would just help friends with my training.


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