Starting A New Career After 50? Yes, You Can!
Don’t be fooled into believing that just because you’ve hit the half century mark, you’re destined to finish your working days doing the same thing until retirement. Many 50-somethings are taking the leap and embarking on something new. Whether they’re sick of the same old routine, need a better cushion for retirement, or want to be their own bosses, there are paths for experienced workers to follow that will lead to job satisfaction. Here are just a few considerations:
Decide What You Want to Do: First and foremost, you need to know what direction you want to go in: as in your long-term vision. Is this going to be a transition to something in a similar field with new challenges? Is this an all-out change in which you’ll be doing something completely different? Do you want to switch industries? Do you want to start your own business and work for yourself? There are plenty of questions to consider as you set forth your plans for the future. Don’t forget, too, that you need to consider your family and others who will be sharing this journey with you.
Set Goals: Once you’ve decided on your next career move, you need to create a plan to attain your desired job. This might entail returning to school to learn new skills or update ones that you’ve long held. An advanced degree or another degree might be necessary if you’re making a complete transition to a new field.
Rebrand Yourself: As you’re transitioning to a new profession, it’s a good opportunity to freshen up your personal brand. Consider how you want to present yourself in the job market. One key piece of advice is not to try and be a younger version of you. Instead, use your experience and qualifications to your advantage, with a nod toward current skills and trends that you’ve acquired during this time. Once you’ve decided on the image you want to portray, make sure your social media profiles (especially LinkedIn), plus your elevator speech, match your brand.
Be Involved: Create more visibility for yourself by attending workshops, contributing to online discussions, and even volunteering. Let your current network know you’re looking, while also building new connections that can have a positive impact on your career ambitions.
Find a Mentor: Here’s an important tip: don’t look just to those who are older than you. Sometimes, the person with the most knowledge and ability to help you might be younger. Think in terms of what experience and talent they have to share, not their age.
Keep Track of Your Progress: This is the time to be organized and manage your contacts and efforts accordingly. Find a meaningful way to track and log what you’ve watched, new skills, to where you’ve applied, and anything else that might be important during this period. You never know when you’ll need to refer to it.
Be Patient: Just like when you first began your career, it takes time to start a new job. Keep applying, surround yourself with positive people who will keep you motivated, and remember, something will come up.
Regardless of the myths out there about starting something new late in your career, it is possible to jumpstart your professional ambitions after 50. It takes some patience, but it’s worth the effort to spend your remaining work years doing something you enjoy.