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How to Change Careers after the Age of 50

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Summary: Changing your career can cause you to be hit with roadblocks and struggles, especially at an older age, but nothing is impossible.

Deciding to change careers is a big move at any age. Deciding to do so when you get older, nearing the time of potential retirement, is an even bigger choice to make. Changing careers in your 50s is entirely possible but it may be more of a challenge. There quite often is an age bias when employers assume that older workers are not as proficient with technology or more modern working environments. However, with age comes experience and wisdom that young college graduates won’t have acquired yet. A good hiring manager knows that a successful workplace is well-rounded with employees of all ages. Use these tips to give yourself the best possible chance at succeeding in your desire to change careers.

  1. Financial change

Consider all of the consequences, even if just for short term, that may come from making a change in careers at an older age. The biggest change could be to your financial situation. There is a good chance that you will see a decrease in your pay so be sure your finances are in order and can handle a hit. Don’t let the prospect of less pay be a reason not to change careers if it is something you really want to do and financially you can handle it. Keep in mind that making less money than you are now may only be a temporary thing and may increase once you have gained some experience in the new career.

  1. Part-time or volunteer work

If financially you are not prepared to give up your current career quite yet, look at moving into a part-time role so you can find a part-time work in the field you want to switch to or even volunteer your time in. Have a list of what you want in a new job and what your strengths and skills are. Volunteer work is an excellent way to build experience and get an “in” for a position that otherwise you may not be qualified for. A company will be more likely to hire you after knowing your work ethic through volunteer work first than just a cold application.

  1. Continue education

Perhaps you just need to learn how to use a specific program for the career you are trying to move to or a freshening up on how other skills. Turn to a local community college or another place for continuing education classes. If you are still employed, starting taking the classes now so that when you are ready to make the move, you have the credentials to do so. If you are already unemployed, you can be taking the classes while job searching but if you are already unemployed, depending on your circumstances, it may be best to volunteer while taking classes.

  1. Update resume

Use your strengths and skills to update your resume for the type of job you are wanting to change to. Once your resume is updated and you know where you stand in your desires for a new career and financial situation, turn to your network for help. You have friends, alumni associations, colleagues, former co-workers, teachers, relatives, and more that can help you. They may have advice that can help you make the transition or have connections that can help you along your new path. Once you have a goal, reaching it may take time but is always possible. Don’t feel like you have to reach your goal alone.

  1. Update online profiles

If you have not yet created an online profile on LinkedIn or another related site for professionals in your industry, then do so. An online presence is the new way of doing things so even if you don’t actively use the page, having an accurate page is a positive sign to the hiring manager looking for your page. One of the biggest fears hiring managers have with older workers is their lack of skills with technology. Showing immediately that you can handle technology is a strong sign that you are capable of handling the job.

What would you do to prepare if you were an older employee looking to change careers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

To learn more about what to do when wanting to change careers, read these articles:

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How to Change Careers after the Age of 50 by
Authored by: Amanda Griffin