February 24, 2024

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Being too old to start over is an ‘outdated’ concept, says career coach—how to navigate a reset

3 min read
Being too old to start over is an ‘outdated’ concept, says career coach—how to navigate a reset

You’re never too old to pivot in your career.

The idea of pursuing something new can feel intimidating, especially after getting a college degree and spending years — decades, even — in a specific field. Societal pressures to have it all together after your 40s can also add to that stress, but they shouldn’t deter you from taking the reins on your career.

In fact, “the concept of being ‘too old’ for a career reset is increasingly outdated,” Patrice Lindo, CEO of Career Nomad, a consulting firm, tells CNBC Make It.

This is especially true in today’s post-pandemic world, as many professionals have explored different ways of working, from passive income streams to remote jobs, in the past three years. Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, roughly 22% of workers across the nation considered changing careers, according to a recent Zippia report.

So if you’re 40 and up, and itching for a job shift, you’re not alone. “My clients vary widely in age, including many who are mid-career or later,” Lindo says. 

Of course, navigating the change can come with challenges, according to an October report from Generation, an employment nonprofit, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

These organizations asked hiring managers if they would hire entry-level or intermediate-level candidates of specific ages. There was a strong preference for applicants aged 30-44; candidates aged 45-64 were least favored — not to mention the influx of Gen Z talent in the workforce.

When working with professionals “looking to restart their career later in life,” Lindo says she helps them “emphasize the value of their accumulated experience and the importance of continuous learning and adaptability.”

In other words, sell yourself based on the expertise that you bring to the table, and show your commitment to constant growth in your career, no matter your age. While emphasizing these key qualities, be sure to remain authentic and accurate about your skills.

Most importantly, pursue new roles with confidence. For Niro Sivanathan, an organizational behavior professor at London Business School, that means keeping explanations with hiring managers or potential bosses brief. Don’t try to over-argue your case with background information and research.

“Most people make the forecasting error that in order to win people over, you need to get them lots of data,” Sivanthan told CNBC Make It last month. “Oftentimes, things fail not in content, but delivery.”

Instead, lay out your core argument, and let it hover in silence until the other person is ready to respond.

“Less is more,” says Sivanthan. “If you have just one key argument, be confident and put that on the table, rather than feeling the need to list many others.”

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