Changing careers can be both exciting and scary. Although younger workers may change careers without hesitation, workers 50 and older may feel like they have to stay in their fields until they retire.
The misconception that it is too late to make a career change can hold people back from switching professions. However, the stigma is not true. People over 50 offer many benefits to employers that can propel them into a new career.
Changing careers later in life is a growing trend as the retirement age continues to rise. People are living longer, and whether it be out of want or need, they are working longer too. A new career in your fifties and beyond can be a way to explore new opportunities, build upon skills you already have in a fresh setting, or grow your income.
Why People Change Jobs in Their 50s and Older
Many factors contribute to why people in their fifties and beyond switch careers. Each person has their own unique experiences and reasons for exploring options, but here are some common factors that lead to a career change.
Empty nest: Once children move out of the home, some people decide to either return to work or switch careers. Responsibilities at home lessen, so a goal of getting a new career can be an exciting new kind of purpose.
Loss of a parent or spouse: Sometimes, people step out of the workforce to take care of loved ones. If the loved one passes, a person might want to reenter the workforce. Their experiences can lead to new perspectives and aspirations about work.
End of a marriage: A divorce can be a reason to change careers due to a financial need or desire to start fresh.
Illness or physical condition: Our physical health determines our ability to do certain jobs. For this reason, some people decide to switch to a job that is less physically demanding.
A desire to make a difference: Some people may lose a sense of purpose after working the same job for a long time. A drive to make a difference in the world might spark a new career path.
Tips for Getting a New Job at 50 or Older
Have you thought about changing your career path? Try these tips for changing careers.
1. Take Time to Reflect
The thought of a new career can be exciting. But, you may not want to jump into a new field without giving it some thought.
Changing careers takes a bit of strategy. Taking the time to reflect on your goals and developing a plan can help make a smooth transition. Focus on why you want to change careers and concrete steps you will take to get there. This approach can help you avoid job search burnout.
2. Keep Learning
You’ve gathered a wealth of knowledge and experiences throughout your life. But, you may not know everything there is to know about the career you want. Continued learning can help you stand out from other applicants.
Actively participate in training opportunities, classes, and workshops that relate to the field you are interested in. You can also enroll in on-the-job training programs for hands-on experience.
3. Dress for Success
Make sure that you are up to date on the profession’s proper attire. Research what others wear to interviews in that particular industry. If you get called for an interview, check that you have something to wear in advance. You don’t want to spend the night before scrambling for an outfit when you could be preparing for tough interview questions.
4. Talk About Your Fears
Change can cause stress. Talk to your friends and family about the feelings you experience. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to succeed and support your decision to change careers. Confidence is a key factor in landing the job you want.
5. Use Your Network
If you want to change your career, let people know! You have a network of friends, family, and past colleagues who can help you identify opportunities and offer advice.
6. Identify Employers That Fit Your Goals
You know what you want to do, but who do you want to work for? Identify companies that are hiring in the field you want. Explore their websites and reviews online to get a sense of the company culture and expectations. Finding employers that match your goals will help you successfully transition into a job that you love.
7. Ask an Expert for Help
Changing careers can be tough. Family and friends can offer support, but a professional can help steer you in the right direction and connect you to key opportunities. Job coaches and employment counselors are experienced in helping people find the right jobs. A staffing agency or stepping-stone program can also be a great way to get your foot in the door of a new career.
Are you 55 or older and trying to re-enter the workforce? VANTAGE Workforce Solutions provides paid, hands-on training in community agencies to help you reach your goals. You also receive an individual employment plan and opportunities to earn special certificates. Call us today at 1-800-554-5335 if you live in one of the 38 Ohio counties we serve. Eligibility requirements apply.