Second Act Success: What It Takes to Nail a Career Change

Second Act Success: What It Takes to Nail a Career Change

Who says making a significant career change at the peak of your high earning years is a no good, very bad idea?

According to a new study from the American Institute for Economic Research, 82% of American workers who transitioned to an entirely new field post-40 were successful in making the switch.

In fact, of the up to 29 million Americans who took the career change leap in 2014, 18% saw their pay stay the same—and another 50% got a salary boost.


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And there's more good news to report: An overwhelming 87% said they were happy or very happy with their career change, and 65% even felt less stress at work.

So what's the secret to achieving such success when switching gears?

According to the study, second-acters who were most successful were able to leverage existing skills and experience to their benefit in a new position. Topping the list of highly transferrable skills: seasoned problem solving, interpersonal communication and public communication.

On the flip side, those who took on a completely new skill set—like social media or bilingual ability—didn't see quite the same benefits.

And lest you think that tales of successful career change are only limited to older workers, think again.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average working professional stays at a job for about four and a half years, allowing for plenty of time to shift gears throughout their career—and a greater chance of a plum salary in those prime earning years.

RELATED: Strategize Your Next Career Move: 5 Books That Can Help


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