Changing your career after 50 can be challenging but exciting at the same time. In order to be successful, you must consider that now your time frame is shorter. Thus, your decision requires careful analysis and planning.
Here are some important points to consider when embarking on this decision.
Changing your career after 50 is not an easy step. You need to be very sure about it, the reasons behind your decision, your success possibilities, and the effect on your health, significant others and your life in general.
Evaluate yourself and find out what you need to be content. Consult your family and loved ones, who will be affected by your decision. Breaking into a new career is difficult, and you will need their support. Seek the advice of a career counsellor or any other career development expert that can help you find the correct answers.
Completion of this step should leave you with a list of traits, skills and possible career opportunities.
Have the right attitude
Change produces stress and anxiety. Will I succeed? What if …? All these typical questions will populate your mind. Talk to your spouse, children, friends, about the step(s) you have taken. Seek their support.
See your ‘post-50’ period as a rewarding and happy stage in your life. Stay in good physical shape by exercising regularly. Keep your mind sharp and positive. Play brain games such as Sudoku or chess. Read motivational books and articles.
Employers will value a positive attitude and healthy physical presence. It shows that you have the right attitude to tackle the challenges that your new job may present to you.
Set yourself realistic goals, and enjoy the rewards of your decision. Consider that age brings limitations, such as lower concentration capacity, limited sight, reduced memory, and lower energy levels. In addition, it also brings added responsibilities, such as having time for your family.
Age also reduces your time span for training and education. Focus on options that require none or short training. Consider your financial resources. Nowadays, there are many educational institutions with courses available online, offering a wide array of options to choose from. Everything from beauty therapy to mental health courses, there is something for everyone and (perhaps, more importantly) for every budget too.
Consider your financial needs. Can you afford a reduction in your monthly income? Do you need to save for your retirement? How much travel are you open to? Are you open to contract work or is a full-time occupation your only option? Don’t be ashamed of accepting a lower income amount, if it implies higher job satisfaction. Money isn’t everything. Resist negative peer pressure. It is your life that is at stake, not theirs.
Learn about the employment outlook and median earnings of your chosen career path. Analyse what your possibilities of getting the job are. Make sure the salary will cover your expenses, and your new job will allow you to take time for your personal activities.
Update your resume
Use your resume as a tool to establish your personal brand. Remember, the two main aspects of a brand are a message or promise, and the experience to back it up. Make sure your resume is sending the right message.
Employers will consider you if they feel that you can solve their problems. Highlight those aspects that show that you are capable of adding value. Transform age into an advantage by indicating your transferable skills. Add any course related to your new occupation that you have recently taken. It will show your positive attitude, and your promptness to learn.
Add a cover letter that explains your goals, positive traits and skills. Explain to your potential employer why they should be hiring you. Remember, first impressions count!
Use your network
Age also brings some advantages, such as the network of colleagues, friends and family that you developed throughout the years. Use them all in your job search.
Take concrete steps, such as joining the alumni association of the college you attended. Join online professional networks such as LinkedIn, where you can find other professionals already working in your chosen career. Link with them, make them know of your abilities and that you are available. Reveal yourself. The more people know about you, the easier for them to feel connected to you.
And finally remember what Theodore Roosevelt said: “Believe that you can, and you are halfway there”.