Here you are, roughly 20 years into your career. You’ve done everything you were meant to do. You received your tertiary qualifications and have probably undertaken more training and courses whilst in the workforce. If you’re like most Australian executives and professionals, you have always worked more than the prescribed ’9 to 5.’

You may not have been as professionally successful as you had hoped by now, but you’ve done OK. Everybody tells you that you should be happy, but you’re just not ‘feeling it’. You want more. You fit into one of two camps; you started on the right path and somehow lost your way, or you have had an epiphany and realised ‘this is not my career, how did I get here?’ Perhaps you have successfully climbed the corporate ladder, only to find it was propped against the wrong wall.

The good news on career transition

The good news is that you’re not stuck in a rut with no chance of escape. You have options, in fact, you have more than you could possibly realise. The most important takeaway for you today is the fact that you are (for the first time in a while) being completely honest with yourself about how you really feel about your current career path, and you’re ready to make a career transition.

Okay, you’re 40. What does the future hold for you?

At 40, you are old enough to have life experience and wisdom, but you are still young enough to be flexible and creative. The problem is most employers don’t share this view. Most employers remain fixated on fresh-faced graduates, believing they are the future. They often overlook underdeveloped internal and external talent, who are over 40, believing they have less potential. Although this view is shortsighted, HR departments often reinforce it.

Your age is your power

You know this, we know this but employers don’t quite get it. Your challenge is convincing them that you are the future and not the past. As a 30-year-old, you’re considered ‘pliable’. At 40, less so, however, if positioned correctly, your experience and knowledge can demonstrate that you can hit the ground running. That’s a harder sell for a 30-year-old with little or no executive experience. Pitched correctly, you are a much more attractive proposition than your younger counterparts.

Career change at 40 vs. Career change at 50

As difficult as it may seem to change careers at 40, you have a much greater chance of finding a sustainable and rewarding job than at 50. At 50, you are more likely to join the 1.5 million Australians who operate as ‘consultants’ . Whilst there is nothing wrong with working on a project basis, and genuinely pursuing a “Portfolio” career, ‘Consultant’ is code for multiple part-time positions with no stickability. 40 is precisely the age when you need to take action on a career change, and the sooner you start, the better.

The harsh reality for many over 40’s

Most well-funded redundancy programs are for the over forties, which implies that these people need the most help. That’s a sobering realisation. It should also alert you to the importance of your next career move and that you should take destiny into your own hands.

‘Where do I start my career change at 40?’

The temptation is to turn directly to the job ads or to seek the advice of recruitment agencies. If you do this, you’re setting yourself up for failure as this is going from the frying pan to the fire, as these options do not adequately cater for career change and transition.

As they say, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ Before you start applying for positions, you need to get a plan in place. Start by engaging a career adviser such as Voquest. Career advisors are not recruiters, but the best ones have the recruitment connections, which you can access once you have identified your personal value, developed a ‘personal career brand’ and have a career strategy in place.

Why Voquest?

There has been a great deal of research on the benefits of tertiary education over ‘self-education’. Most of this research indicates that those with a tertiary education have a broader understanding of complexity, whereas the self-taught have a narrower view. The same is true of understanding the complexity of the careers market, including recruitment, post graduate education and re-training. Even top executives are often novices at marketing themselves, which is why the smartest turn to Voquest for help.

Voquest provides the objectivity and confidentiality that you need when accessing professional advice. Their extensive experience and network in career development and career transition provides you with the best possible chance of achieving your desired outcomes.

Why not ‘go it alone?’

The recruitement process is not rocket science, but it is more complex and has more hidden traps that you realise. As they say, ‘you only know what you know.’ If you do decide to go it alone, chances are you’re decreasing your chance of success and dramatically increasing the time it will take to achieve the career change you want. It also usually takes only one or two rejections for most executives and professionals to lose faith in themselves, and both recruiters and potential employers can smell this lack of self-esteem a mile away.

An important part of the service provided by Voquest is support. We provide the “tools” for you to navigate your way through the recruitment maze. This support includes your own personal career guide, as well as access to peer support. Having access to this support will help you ‘keep the faith’ and maintain your self-esteem, which is important in any career transition.

Making a career change. What are my options?

You have several options available to you. You can dust off your resume and start looking at job ads. You can meet with a recruiter, or you can start your own business.

If you simply intend to dust of your resume and start looking at job ads, your chances of finding your ideal career by yourself are so statistically small, they barely warrant a mention. You’re throwing yourself into a very deep pool of candidates, many of who (on paper) will look much more attractive to a potential employer than yourself, even if they are less qualified. If you’re going head to head with a past Voquest client, your chances at success are even slimmer, simply because they are experts at navigating the recruitment maze.

The recruiter path

If you decide on the recruiter path, you’re also in for a rude awakening. Recruiters place people on ‘skills, capability and experience’, not ‘potential and the ability to transfer those skills into a different environment. If you desire to change career paths, on paper and in interviews today, your ‘experience’ for the career you want is either thin or non-existent.

The path less traveled

The path less traveled is Voquest, simply because most Australian executives and professionals have no real understanding how the recruitment sector works. They believe that this is their only option, so they throw their hat (and resume) into the ring on job ads that can receive hundreds of applicants. What they don’t understand is that by only pursuing the ‘advertised’ job market, they miss out on the 75% of positions that are never advertised. These positions are accessed through networking, a skill that Voquest has refined to an art form and a skill you will learn as a client.

What makes the Voquest experience unique?

Voquest does not pursue advertised jobs and is not a recruiter. That’s a good thing. We provide a service you pay for because we represent you as our client, not the employer. We do however match our clients with opportunities and companies that share cultural values and strategic direction as part of our Placement service. That is also a good thing as we are not trying to fit a square peg (you) into a round hole (the position).

Voquest guides you on your quest towards a new career. Voquest is a guide, mentor and advocate. We have guided thousands of Australians like you through the career transition process towards careers that they love, and we can help you.  To understand more how this works, click on the “how we help you” link below. Alternatively, you can click on the “arrange discussion” link to set up a free, confidential discussion with a Voquest consultant.

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What our clients say

"...I am now working with a team that is supportive and driven to succeed, led by a woman I truly respect. I am excited. I have so many exciting opportunities to make an impact in my new role as Innovation Manager."

Nicole Signal

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