The past years have been an uphill battle for everyone, with 114 million people losing their jobs in 2020. Everyone was scrambling, trying to find a new career. Whether you’re one of those affected by the recent pandemic or not, changing careers might offer you a fresh start.
Whatever reasons you have to start a new career at 50, it’s never too late. Perhaps you’re inspired by someone’s career success story, or you feel defeated with your current role. Or maybe a career change at 50 wasn’t your decision. Employment disruptions can greatly affect people’s career plans.
So remind yourself of this: Your golden years are the new frontier as people in their middle ages have useful work experience and a better work ethic. While there may be a lot of reasons to doubt when changing careers at 50, your future might look brighter if you take the leap.
Pros of starting a new career at 50
It’s okay to feel nervous when you’re thinking of changing careers at 50. So it’s important to think critically about it. Reflect on how a career change can affect your personal and professional life in a positive way:
- It fuels your passion. Even if your previous job dampened your passions, you can still gain it back. Since you have a better understanding of your life’s purpose and you know what makes you tick, it’s easier to change career paths at a later age.
- You get to learn new things. Everything constantly changes, so there’s always new opportunities to expand your knowledge. And a new job is the perfect chance to improve your skills in the latest technologies and emerging work cultures. Dipping your toes into a new career at 50 can be exciting because you get to meet people with fresh perspectives as well.
- You get to recreate yourself. Recreating yourself can be a magical experience, especially when you come out of a poor work environment. And a career change might be what you need to spice up your life.If you feel like your current job doesn’t give you enough space to be creative or your work routine is becoming dull and boring, it might be time to try out a new role.
- You can improve your quality life. Despite ageism, people ages 50 and beyond still want to work because of the positive influence it offers on their mental wellbeing. You’ll never know you, switching careers may give you extra time and energy to do activities in your spare time that can benefit your mental health.
- Your skill and experience are invaluable. Because of your age, you’re more likely to find a new job faster than other applicants. Your existing skills are far more valuable than others. Plus, companies can leverage your pool of network from years of work experience. Plus, you have a better grip on business knowledge that you can put to the table. So don’t worry too much, as some hiring managers prefer to hire older workers.
Cons of starting a new career at 50
Every life changing choice you make has its downsides. So take a good look at the cons of career changes at 50 to make a calculated decision:
- You might earn a lower salary. Pay cuts are one of the major disadvantages to career transitions at a later age. But it depends on the position you’re applying for. If you’re going from a senior role to an entry-level job, you will definitely have a lower salary. If you have enough savings to be financially comfortable, it won’t be an issue. But it’s important that you understand this matter, particularly if you have kids who are still in school or you have debt to pay off.
- You may experience discrimination. Even with decades of experience, employers might choose a younger candidate just because of their age. But this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your career development goals.
- You might have to undergo training. Training and extra qualifications are necessary to land a completely new job that’s outside your industry. While taking additional school work might night be right at this very moment, it can, however, delay the transition. So what you can do now is to research or seek advice from your network. If you don’t have the time or resources to sign up for traditional education, online courses might be an option for your current situation.
- Coworkers may doubt your capabilities. Just because you’re older than everyone else at work doesn’t mean you’re not capable of learning new technology. But other people don’t see it that way. They assume that you won’t be able to keep up with the changing times.
- Recruiters might think you’re overqualified. Hiring managers might believe that you’re only in it for the money or you wouldn’t enjoy the job you’re eying because of your years of background experience.
Types of career transitions at 50
Everyone has a different idea of career transitions. So as their professional and personal goals change, some may not continue in the same field. Others might even stay with the same company, but transfer to another department.
Here are 4 different kinds of career transitions in your 50s:
1. Functional transition
This type of career transition means you don’t have to leave the company you currently work for, but you just change to a different job position. Here, people usually get promotions to climb the career ladder.
For example, from your role as a content writer, you can take a new job as an SEO lead manager. So basically you stay in the same industry, but you have to develop new skills to fit the job description.
2. Industrial transition
This type of transition takes a more lateral approach where you keep your role and duties but transfer to a completely different industry. While you may not have any experience with the job, you might have to do some research and study related courses to make the career switch smooth.
Let’s say you’re a marketing head specializing in direct marketing, but you want to shift careers to handling video marketing. They may be in the same field of work, but your core functions are not the same.
3. Entrepreneurial transition
People in their 50s typically want to steer their own ships so they decide to leave their corporate jobs to start a business. There’s no other feeling when you become your own boss and start putting your entrepreneurial ideas to the test.
4. Double transition
A double career transition can be the toughest move you can make because it calls for starting all over again. To put it into perspective, it could be someone switching from being a professional linebacker to a data analyst.
This career transition calls for enhancing new skills that you weren’t even aware of and connecting with people in your new industry. So don’t expect that most of your skills are transferable in a change like this. But you may have some traits or characteristics that you can apply to your new career.
8 Tips for starting a new career at 50
It is challenging to adapt to changing times. As you grow older and have a different outlook on life, you’ll either want to have a laid back lifestyle or be more energized to push the boundaries of your capabilities.
Here are 8 tips for starting a new career at 50 to help you ease the transition:
1. Study the career you want to shift into
Once you’ve decided which profession you want to transition into, study its nature. Does the work environment fit your personal values and expectations at your age? Can you keep up with the changing trends in this particular industry? Does this trade relate to your passions? Reflecting on these questions will lessen your dissatisfaction with choosing this career path.
2. Take an inventory of your skills and experience
Looking into the skills and experiences that contributed to your success will help you choose a career. Some job seekers would normally check the job description to see if they need to develop a particular skill set to get the job done properly. So write all your transferable skills to have a better sense of self.
3. Seek support and advice
You’re going to need support when you’re reinventing your career, whether you realize this or not. Understandably, you don’t want to put your problems on other people. But having supportive people around you during this pivotal moment in your life can help you navigate better.
Reach out to your friends and family. Or another solution is to seek career advice from people who are in your desired industry. These people can pinpoint exactly what you need to do to land the job you want.
4. Learn the necessary skills for the career you want
People assume that professionals in their 50s or older aren’t comfortable with technology. But you can defy this negative stereotype and learn technology skills. This will make employers realize that you’re more capable than they think.
Job seekers who are in their 50s need to prove to their potential employers that their habits aren’t set in stone. They want their candidates to be open to learning new things. So if you lack some of the skills that a company requires, take the initiative to take career-related lessons. Doing this will help you meet the job qualifications during your job hunting.
5. Update your application credentials
You can boost your credibility no matter the age if you always update your application credentials. Give your hiring managers what they want by tailoring your resume to each employer.
Use the same key words you see in their job description, then go the extra mile by writing the qualifications you have that employers prefer but not required. That way, you can increase your hiring chances.
6. Create a LinkedIn profile
There are 21 million LinkedIn users aged 55 and above. So don’t think that this job search platform can only be useful to the younger generation.
Optimize your LinkedIn profile by doing the following:
- Upload a professional headshot
- Write an eye-catching professional headline
- Build your network
- Get recommendations
- Follow companies you’re interested in
- Connect with other professionals
You can maximize your job search on LinkedIn because there are 57 million organizations on the platform looking for viable job applicants.
7. Grab opportunities to intern or shadow
Internships and job shadowing programs are the perfect way to test the waters before fully committing yourself to the job. This is where LinkedIn comes in handy since companies post job listings if they need an intern or a part-time employee there. Another way to go about this career change step is to ask your network if their department offers this program.
Job shadowing opportunities are the best way to determine if the job or the industry fits your personality and long-term goals.
8. Accept rejections gracefully and keep trying
Surely you’ve heard the saying, “if one door closes another one opens.” So when a recruiter rejects your application, don’t take it to heart. Instead, respond with gratitude, thanking them for their time and consideration.
You can still express disappointment but keep it in a positive tone as this shows that you’re genuinely interested in the role. Finally, politely request for their feedback so you can improve your job application process and skills needed for the job.
Start a new career at 50 with help from Skill Success
As you get older, the thought of going back to a classroom doesn’t fit the bill. But there is a solution to every problem. But earning an education has never been easier these days.
The dawn of the digital era gave people a chance to have access to quality schooling at the comfort of your home. Online learning offers self-paced video tutorials on broad-ranging topics that will help you prepare for a career transition.
While you can’t compare a diploma to a course certificate, having one is better than having none. So whatever reasons you have to start a new career at 50, Skill Success can help you iron out the process.
Be confident of your age
You should be proud of yourself for taking the steps to make your life more fulfilling. Not everyone at your age is prepared to do so. Despite the challenges that are out of your control, planning a career change to make your future brighter is already a huge accomplishment.