How Do I Make a Career Change at 50?

April 6, 2023
Posted in Questions
April 6, 2023 wpengine

How Do I Make a Career Change at 50?

Navigating a career change at 50 can be challenging, but our panel of experts, including career counselors, CEOs, and founders, are here to help. With 13 insightful tips ranging from pursuing continuing education to considering financial needs first, these professionals offer valuable advice on making a successful transition and finding the right career path for you.

  • Pursue Continuing Education
  • Be Proactive and Assess Your Abilities
  • Upgrade Skill Set for Flexible Careers
  • Understand Demands, Stay Optimistic
  • Find Meaningful, Purpose-Driven Work
  • Leverage Transferable Skills
  • Embrace Lifelong Learning
  • Stay Positive and Persistent
  • Get Additional Education or Training
  • Don’t Let Age Be a Barrier
  • Think of Age as Benefit, Consider Consulting
  • Embrace Experience, Try Mentoring
  • Consider Financial Needs First

Pursue Continuing Education

This is a great way to gain the skills or certifications necessary for your new career. You can research programs at universities or community colleges designed for adults looking to make a career change, or you can take online courses from popular e-learning platforms like Coursera or Udemy. Just make sure you know which skills are in-demand in your new industry by doing your due diligence and asking industry professionals for advice.

Making a career change at 50 is an opportunity to find a career that fits your lifestyle and uses the experience you’ve gained over the years. Explore careers that build on your transferable skills and ‌look for industries that align with your values and interests. Don’t be afraid to be creative by leveraging your strengths to create your own niche. Some career change options could include project management, consulting, teaching, or mentoring.

Samuel JohnsSamuel Johns
CPRW and Career Counselor, Resume Genius

Be Proactive and Assess Your Abilities

My best tip for making a career change at age 50 is to be proactive and take charge of your own future. When making a career change, it’s important to understand that you may need to start from the bottom and work your way up.

This may require taking a pay cut or starting a job in an industry you have no prior experience. However, it’s important to remember that the most rewarding career changes often come from taking risks and paving your own path.

With deciding what career to pursue, consider taking a skills assessment to determine which areas you excel in. You may be surprised to find that you have skills in an area you would never have considered before.

Amy LeeAmy Lee
Medical Advisor, Nucific

Upgrade Skills for Flexible Careers

If you are looking to make a career change at age 50, you might need to upgrade some skills or even seek more education opportunities for the new career you are trying to get.

It’s never too late to learn new things, and there are so many free or reasonably priced classes both in-person and online that can help to increase skill sets so you have a better chance of getting the job you want.

A career that offers a more flexible schedule is something that might be more appealing to those making a career change later in life. This can allow for a better work-life balance and is a less stressful gig.

Allen King, CEO, Fun Join

Understand Demands, Stay Optimistic

The best piece of advice is to be aware of what the demands of the new career would be while remaining patient and optimistic. Once you’ve chosen a profession, learn about the admission criteria. Investigate the educational prerequisites, licenses, certificates, and legal requirements for the profession.

Recent job postings list the particular skills and qualities that employers in the industry are looking for. Consider shadowing professionals in the field and asking them for advice on how to get started if you want to learn more about a vocation.

Using the information you gain from your research, you can get an idea of the time and cost associated with beginning a new career. When applying for jobs, maintain your positive outlook even if it takes some time to get hired.

During this moment, surround yourself with positive people and engage in activities that will advance your objectives. This can help ensure that you can carry out your responsibilities when you eventually land the job.

Joe LiJoe Li
Managing Director, CheckYa

Find Meaningful, Purpose-Driven Work

By the time you reach 50, you have earned the right to leave the grind behind and work on something you find meaningful. Whether that means leaving behind highly physical labor, a strenuous corporate job, or a company that doesn’t share your values, working in your 50s should be on your terms.

Research in occupational psychology shows that financial incentives are less potent motivators for older employees and contribute less to job satisfaction. There are many reasons for this, but ‌employees over 50 place greater value on time and are likely to have already saved much for retirement, weakening the power of financial incentives.

Instead, search for roles that align closely with your values and sense of purpose, regardless of the paycheck. This could include working for charities, NGOs, or even private companies that share your values, giving you a renewed sense of belonging.

Ben SchwenckeBen Schwencke
Business Psychologist, Test Partnership

Leverage Transferable Skills

Making a career change at 50 can be daunting, but it’s never too late to pursue your passions and embark on a new journey. My best tip for making a successful career change at this age is to focus on your transferable skills.

Think about the skills and experiences you have gained in your current career and consider how they can be applied to a new field. Identify your strengths and explore industries that align with your interests and values. Networking and seeking guidance from a career coach can also be helpful in navigating this transition.

As for what to change, the possibilities are endless. You could consider a field that has always piqued your interest, such as writing, teaching, or healthcare. Or, you could explore emerging industries like sustainability or technology. The key is to stay open-minded and willing to learn. With hard work and perseverance, a fulfilling and rewarding career, change is within reach.

Ben BasicBen Basic

Embrace Lifelong Learning

Keep yourself updated with the latest industry trends and technologies and consider taking courses or getting certifications in the field you are interested in pursuing. This will not only give you the skills and knowledge to succeed, but it will also show potential employers that you are dedicated and motivated to succeed in your new career.

Basana SahaBasana Saha
Founder, KidsCareIdeas

Stay Positive and Persistent

Making a career change can be challenging, but it’s important to stay positive and persistent. Keep your goals in mind and stay focused on the steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Celebrate your successes along the way and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Nick EdwardsNick Edwards
Managing Director, Snowfinders

Get Additional Education or Training

Depending on the career path you choose, you may need to get additional education or training. Consider online courses, night classes, or even full-time degree programs to gain the skills and knowledge needed for your new career.

Leonidas SfyrisLeonidas Sfyris
CTO, Need A Fixer

Don’t Let Age Be a Barrier

I would say the number one tip is to not let age be a factor. It’s easy to see why you’d think that your age would be a barrier—it’s a legitimate concern, and it’s one that I’ve heard from many clients over the years. But it doesn’t have to be!

Here’s my advice: if you’re feeling called to make a career change, just do it. Don’t wait until you feel you’re “ready,” or until you have everything lined up perfectly. Just go for it, because what happens if something doesn’t work out? You’ll still have learned something about yourself and about how to navigate this alternative path, even if the first thing doesn’t work out.

It’s not about being “ready”; it’s about being open to new possibilities when they arise. And those possibilities will always arise—you just need to keep looking for them!

Rengie WisperRengie Wisper
Marketing Manager, Check CPS

Think of Age as Benefit, Consider Consulting

My top tip for making a career change at 50 is to look at your age as a benefit, not a liability. Rework your resume to focus on your years of experience in the industry and don’t be afraid to reach out to every person on your contact list. Make the most of the time you’ve spent learning the ins and outs of the sector, and never undersell the value of maturity and knowledge.

If you’re considering working for yourself, consulting can be a perfect option. It’s flexible, which is great for moving into retirement, and your decades of involvement in the field will set you apart from your younger counterparts.

Tim WalshTim Walsh
Founder, Vetted

Embrace Experience, Try Mentoring

I think the best tip for making a career change at 50 is to fully embrace your skills and experience with pride. You might already have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can be valuable to offer as a service. How about moving to consulting or mentoring?

There may be a market in your area for your specific skill set. So start networking and reaching out to people in your connections to see if there’s traction. Leverage social media and especially LinkedIn to find potential clients and market yourself. You have a lot to offer at this stage of life.

Shaun ConnellShaun Connell
Founder, Writing Tips Institute

Consider Financial Needs First

Before making a career change, it’s important to consider your financial situation. Determine how much money you need to make to support yourself and any dependents. This will help you identify career paths that align with your financial needs.

Matthew AppletonMatthew Appleton
E-commerce Manager, Appleton Sweets

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