The thought of making a career change at 50 … or thereabouts … can be exciting yet scary.
At 50, you’ve likely already lived through some good and bad career decisions. But if you’re feeling that nudge within you that says it’s time for a change, it probably is. Don’t be scared to make a career change at this point of your life, instead embrace the calling to make a career switch to something you’ll truly enjoy.
So, if your career isn’t challenging you enough, or maybe your industry is changing, or you’re tired of doing the same old thing, recognize that now’s the time to make a change.
Are You Meant for Another Career Path at Your Age?
Deep down, you know you are are not where you’re meant to be right now. Another path is calling.
Taking the leap into a new career is something that people do every day — whether they’re 30 or 70! You’re not too old for this. In fact, you’re still in your prime. You have more knowledge and experience than so many others out there. It’s time to put all your skills to work doing something you truly enjoy.
And, let’s face it, it’d be a shame to spend the rest of your life regretting making a change that could bring you so much more fulfillment and happiness. Most of us spend a lot of time working; to be unhappy in a career is to be unhappy with a large chunk of your life. You deserve better than that!
Is Life Forcing You into a Career Change?
Due to factors beyond our control, some of us have no choice but to make a career switch. Maybe you lost your job through no fault of your own, or you had to move and you can’t find a job doing what you used to do. Instead of fretting over this forced change in your life, embrace it.
Take on the attitude that you are being redirected to a career that’s much, much better than you had before. Your attitude will have a lot to do with the altitude you can achieve.
Whatever Your Reasons for Making a Career Change at 50, Know It’s Possible!
Maybe making a career change at this stage of your life is not about climbing the corporate ladder anymore (although it’s perfectly cool if it is). For some people, 50 is the age where they want more meaning and joy from their work.
Whether you’re looking to make more money, find more meaning, enjoy your work more fully, or just need a new career to meet your needs … it’s all good. You choose what you need, and never let anyone talk you out of your dreams. You were given your dreams for a very good reason; listen to what they’re telling you.
Success Tips to Consider When Switching Careers at 50+
Whatever your reasons for changing career paths, there are a few things to consider that will help you be more successful. My top tip is always believe in yourself; embrace the confident person that’s gotten you this far in life.
Now let’s look at a few other power tips for making a smoother transition as you embark upon a new career.
Get Crystal-Clear About What You Hope to Experience in Your New Career
A career change is going to have a significant impact on your day-to-day life, and perhaps even the people around you. You need to get honest with yourself bout what you’re looking for in your next career.
For example, you may want:
- A lot of flexibility … perhaps even work remotely
- A leadership role
- A role where you don’t have burden of leadership anymore
- Work that focuses on helping others
- A much bigger paycheck
- Solid job security
- A chance to use your creative skills
- An opportunity to use your skills more fully
- More input in what you do and how you do it
- To work in a company with a great culture
And those are just a handful of things you might be looking for. What else tops your list of what you want to experience in your new career?
Make a list of things that made you happy or unhappy in your past jobs or current career.
Knowing what makes you satisfied and dissatisfied about what you’ve done thus far in your life will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to experience and achieve in your next career adventure.
Also, start thinking about your goals for this next chapter of your life. This will help you make realistic decisions, rather than underestimate yourself or overestimate the impact that this career switch will have on your life.
Make a List of What You're Good At & What You Need to Improve Upon
Make a list of things you are seamlessly at. Think about what you’ve been praised for in the past. Consider the things that just come easy for you.
Write down all your skills and list which ones you most enjoy performing.
Next, write down the things you’re pretty good at, but really don’t enjoy all that much. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you want to keep doing it. Sticking with things we can do but don’t enjoy is how a lot of us get stuck in jobs we hate.
Last but not least, write down the things you’d like to be good at … skills you’d like to employ in your next career move … yet you already know you need more training and/or more experience to get really good at these skills.
Most people who make a career change need to upgrade their skills in certain areas. If you already know you need to hone some skills haven’t mastered yet, get on that now. There’s no time like the present to develop your professional skill set.
Test the Waters Before You Leap
If you’re currently employed, don’t just hand in your resignation letter just yet. Consider testing the waters before you leap.
Think about the new career (or career options) that intrigue you. How will your current skills serve you well as you make a change? What else do you think you’ll need to learn in order to succeed in your new career path? Don’t guess –research this!
It’s wise to speak to someone who’s already in the career you’d like to pursue. This will give you a better idea of the skills you’ll need to succeed there.
You could also take a part-time gig or perform volunteer work in the field you are interested in to see if you’ll truly enjoy the experience.
You may want to speak to a career coach or consultant to help you better identify the new career choices that make the best sense for you. I personally recommend contacting life and career coach Anna Goldstein … she’s amazing!
Get Real About Your Finances
Career change at midlife is could set you back for a while financially for a while. It may not, but it could.
I’m a big advocate of chasing your dreams, but I always advise folks to take their common sense with them as they chase those dreams. You may need to take less money in your new career at first. If that’s the case and you can’t afford a big cut in pay, then save until you can.
But, don’t expect to go backwards in pay. You might actually make more in your new career. Many of the skills and much of the experience you already have will translate well into your new gig. You may actually find you make more money switching careers.
Start Networking. In Fact, Start Networking A Lot!
Grow your professional network. Start connecting with more people in the industry or career niche that you’re hoping to join.
Get your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and spend some time on this professional platform often. You may even want to start posting original content on LinkedIn that showcases your skills and knowledge; this could give you and edge up on others with lesser professional profiles.
Building the right network takes time and patience. You need to be precise about finding the right circles that will help you grow in the right direction. Consider joining forums that have professionals in your prospective industry. Also, you can always ask for referrals from friends, family, and colleagues.
Revamp Your Resume
In with the new and out with the old, right?
Ditch your old resume and begin composing an amazing new resume bearing in mind you are selling yourself in a new field or new position.
Show how your skills translate into the roles for which you are applying. Don’t underestimate what you bring to the table, you have many skills that will transfer beautifully to your next gig.
If you haven’t written a resume in a while, I highly recommend you consider working with a professional resume service.
Check out ResumeWriters.com. It costs a bit, but this simple investment could help you land your dream job a lot faster than you can do on your own.
You Can Change Careers at 50. You've Got This!
I certainly understand the risks that come with making such massive life transformation, but there’s so much life you have ahead of you … you owe it to yourself to make that time happy and fulfilling.
By the way, I quit a job at 51 where I was making a BIG paycheck, but where I wasn’t happy. In fact, I was miserable.
To be honest, it took a bit of time for me to successfully enter a new career. But now my work allows me far more freedom and flexibility, and I take great pride in the fact that I’m helping people through my work. I couldn’t be happier with my career change after 50. I truly wish you much success in your next chapter. You’ve got this!