HOW TO CHANGE CAREER AFTER 50
Photo by Amy Hirschi
The thought of pursuing a new career after fifty can be a scary one. If you’ve been in one position for many years, or if your current position offers you a lot of stability, it might feel like a mistake to leave and begin something entirely different. Yet, you may still feel that a switch in careers is the right choice for you.
Perhaps you’ve cultivated many skills in your current position and are ready to apply them in a field that excites you. Maybe you’ve discovered that your true passion lies somewhere else, or that you’d like a better work-life balance to enjoy more time with your family. Whatever your reasons are for switching careers, you have more opportunities than ever to make a change. With the amount of online information available, you can learn any skills you need, connect with a wide network of people, and join groups to support you in your change.
In the past, a woman over fifty may have felt that it was not wise (or even possible) to go in a new direction after so many years already in the workforce. This is absolutely not the case today. If you’re looking to make the change into a new career path – even if you’re a little afraid – this guide will get you started, and if you want even more high-level know-how, our online course, How to Find and Land a Job You Love, will propel you even further toward the new job you desire.
Three Signs You Should Change Careers
Not sure if you really want a career change, or if it’s just a flight of fancy? These career red-flags are clear signs that it’s time to move on. If you’re currently experiencing the following in your current workplace, then there’s a good chance it’s time to make a switch to a new path.
1. You Know What You Want, and Your Current Job Isn’t It
Perhaps your years spent in your present role have taught you that it’s really not for you. It’s okay to take what you’ve gained and learned and apply it to a new position that suits you better.
2. You’re Bored, Worn Out, or Overly-Stressed in Your Current Job
Stress-related illness (including heart disease) is the number one cause of death. It is simply not worth it if your job is running you ragged and making you ill. With all your experience you can find a job that challenges you but offers a better work environment or work-life balance to keep you happy and healthy.
3. You’re Ready to Follow Your Passion
You know the thing you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t yet pursued. It’s exciting and scary to think about leaving the stability of a job to enter into the unknown, but you deserve a chance to realize your dream. Now is the time!
The Do’s and Don’ts of Changing Careers After 50
So, you know you want to make a change, and you’re ready to start the process. The question is: How?
These important dos and don’ts of switching careers will get you going in the right direction. Remember that every journey will be different. An attitude of adaptability and flexibility is the way through the uncertainty that change always brings.
Use your personal and professional networks to carve the path between where you are now and where you want to be. Attend networking events, utilize sites like Linkedin, and join groups either online or in-person that align with your new career desires.
Use Social Media to Build a Brand
It is imperative in today’s world to have a social media presence. More valuable still is an online presence that properly reflects who you are and what you offer.
Curate a professional Facebook page to highlight your skills, experience, and career objectives. Activate or update your Linkedin account to begin connecting with people in the industry you’re looking to move into. If you feel like fostering an even stronger online presence, you can use Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and more.
Update Your Resume
Research present-day best practices for a resume that will get you noticed. Alter the language on your current resume to resonate with businesses in your new industry of choice. If you are looking to switch to a different position within your existing industry, highlight skills and responsibilities that match the needs of that role. Check out our free online course How to Write an Effective Resume to learn how to create the best resume possible.
Consider All Options
Lay out a variety of potential paths to take when considering a job change. Beyond a full-time position with a new company, or a new role within your existing company there are multiple fulfilling ways to earn income. Entrepreneurship, part-time work, and consulting services are also available options. You may find that a combination of jobs suits you better right now.
If you want to pursue a full-time job, it’s a good idea to map out how various changes may affect your life in the long-term. This is especially important if you are looking into multiple positions across more than one industry. You may discover that you are more excited about one particular path over all others. Taking the time to do this will give you far more clarity and direction than proceeding forward with only a vague idea of what you want.
A career switch takes time. As you plant seeds for a new career you may have to practice patience before seeing results. Commitment will take you a long way, but patience will also be necessary in order to see the change all the way through. When you find yourself frustrated, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re going through this time in order to give yourself and your family a better life.
Tell the Same Story
Change the way you speak about yourself, your experience, and what you have to offer your new potential employers. Find ways to marry your current expertise with what will be required of you in a new position. Above all, eliminate any negative, limiting, or self-conscious language from your speech – especially as you begin to interview with new potential employers.
Everything you say should be spun in a positive way that supports your pursuit of a new career. Explain why your particular level of expertise will be of great value in your new position. Talk about how the skills you’ve acquired in another field makes you especially equipped for the role you’ve applied for.
Forget to Plan
You must look into your financial situation, retirement plans, and the perspective and needs of your family. You may need to be flexible in your plans to move forward with a career change as new information comes in, but without a foundational plan of your own creation, you’ll likely feel at the mercy of your circumstances. Keep yourself centered with a clear plan of attack that makes you feel confident to take some risks and move bravely forward.
Let Fear Stop You
Fear shows up as hesitation, doubt, anxiety, worry, and procrastination. Let the fear you feel be there but don’t feed it – it’s only there to remind you of what you don’t want as you continue to move forward with what you do want. Whenever fear comes calling notice it, acknowledge the feeling, and consciously commit (out loud, even) to continue to go in the direction you know is right.
A combination of bravery, resourcefulness, and proper planning will take you in the right direction. The most important first step, no matter what career you’re leaving, or where you want to go, is to commit to yourself that you will do it. You can accomplish anything you set your mind to – it’s time to get started!
If you want to discover more on how to change your career, read our guide How to change your career. And if you want to find the job of your dreams quickly, our course How to Find and Land a Job You Love will give you the knowledge you need to achieve the career you’ve always wanted. We look forward to working with you!
To change your career isn’t always an easy task but it is absolutely possible. You spend the majority of your day at work – you deserve to be in a role that inspires you. Implement these tips, follow the guidelines presented and gather good people around you to help you on your way. Before you know it, you’ll be in a new career and the only thing you’ll be wondering is: Why didn’t I make the change sooner?