Is a career change at 50 possible? Hell, yes, it is. Is it scary to make such changes? I will answer in the affirmative. If you follow my blog well enough, you must have come across a post where I mentioned starting my first entry-level job this year. The night before I was to start work, it is safe to say that I couldn’t get any sleep. I was exceedingly anxious and thought of thousands of possible worst case scenarios in my head. That comes to show that change is not easy.
Is A Career Change At 50 Possible?
Just for emphasis’ sake, I will answer this question with a resounding YES! Starting a new profession at 50 may appear unattainable, but it is not. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a rise in labor-force participation among persons aged 55 and older until 2024. It is not difficult to explore new professional opportunities after the age of 50. In this post, we will provide valuable tips on how to navigate a career change at 50.
When do you need a career change?
In my post about maintaining a healthy work-life balance, I briefly mentioned the dangers of burnout when you focus too much on your career. Does this mean you are due for a career change when you experience burnout? I don’t think so. There are telltale signs that let you know you are due for a career change.
Signs you are due for a career change at 50:
1. Unfulfilling job
I am still in the early stages of my career. It follows that I am motivated by money and nothing else. Sometimes, I wonder if money isn’t my biggest motivator, will I still l find my career path fulfilling?
Well, if your situation is a lot different than mine and you find your job outrightly unfulfilling, then it is time for a career job. Maybe you can’t recall the last time you were excited about a work project. You are dissatisfied with your job, which might even extend to your coworkers. Then, it is time for a career change.
2. Creativity dearth
Sometimes, work can get monotonous. Such monotony for a long period can kill your creative spark. If you no longer feel like you are making a change or exercising your imagination at work due to how routinous it can get, then you are probably due for a career change.
3. Your Job makes you depressed
If you have to drag yourself out of bed every day simply to get to work, it is possible that your job is making you depressed. Although, I will suggest that you take a vacation/leave, that might help you put things into a better perspective. Research shows that many social workers seek a career change once the emotional demands of the job take their toll on them.
4. Inadequate salary
As an entry-level staff earning peanuts, I cannot imagine earning around the same salary at 50 years. It is also possible that you are paid fairly, but I believe that the pay is not commensurate to your skillsets, experience, and effort. If such is the case, you are better off seeking a career that will appreciate what you bring to the table.
5. You have no work-life balance
I discussed this point in detail in my post on maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Conclusively, if your personal life is in shambles and you find yourself suffering from insomnia and weariness due to your career, news flash, you might be due for a career change.
Tips on Making a Career Change at 50
1. Figure out what you want to do
This might be quite tasking. It is possible that you know you are due for a career change but have no idea what career you want to venture into. Well, you might start by creating a list of your interests/hobbies and consider the possibility of turning them into a career.
Many people choose a new career at or after the age of 50 that allows them to have a better work-life balance or allows them to spend more time on personal hobbies and interests.
However, before you decide, consider the lifestyle you plan to sustain with that career. This will give you a better idea of what you’re looking for regarding compensation and flexible work alternatives such as working from home and flexible scheduling.
2. List out your transferable skills
When changing careers, it is critical to have transferable skills. That is why it is important to compile a comprehensive list of your top workplace skills. This should contain anything from computer skills and specialist knowledge in your present area to communication and listening skills.
The next step is to compare these skills to those required in the new career. Highlight the skills you already have that are transferable to your new career.
It is advisable to emphasize technical skills. There is an erroneous assumption that many firms are concerned that job searchers over the age of 50 would lack the necessary technological abilities. Well, to be on the safe side, it is advisable that you demonstrate that you are comfortable with technology.
3. Have a support system
I will always emphasize the need for a support system, especially when making changes. When it comes to redefining yourself—and your career—you’ll need the support of friends and family.
Tell them what you want to do and ask for their assistance. They might be able to assist you in producing a terrific cover letter tailored to older job searchers or connect you with connections who can help you network. It might even be as basic as offering emotional support while you navigate these new seas and find a job you enjoy.
4. Consider acquiring more skills, then update your resume
It’s a good idea to brush up on your knowledge if you lack some of the skills the employer seeks in a prospective applicant. That way, when you’re ready to start seriously job looking, you’ll have the qualifications.
Job seekers over 50 must demonstrate to employers that they are interested and open to learning new things and regularly engage in self-directed learning.
Taking a professionally related class on your own or earning a new certification can demonstrate to employers that you’re self-motivated to do the continuous learning that they value.
5. Rebrand yourself
Job searchers of any age who are looking for a new job should make a concerted effort to reinvent themselves. This includes upgrading your LinkedIn profile as well as your résumé.
Small things like having a current LinkedIn profile picture, using a popular email platform like Gmail, or addressing your cover letter with ‘Dear Team at ABC Company’ rather than ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ can help employers continue on to the important pieces of the resume without being distracted by age red flags.
6. Consider internships
It’s not enough to wish to change careers at 50; you must also give it a shot before committing. And trust me, internships are the way to go. So, seek opportunities to try out your new profession, such as a (paid) adult internship or part-time or flexible work in your new field of interest. That personal experience will assist you in determining whether the career and industry as a whole—is a good match for you.
7. Consider more than just money
When changing careers at 50, money may not be the most essential consideration in your decision. Your health, personal pleasure, social effect, and self-actualization are all equally or even more vital.
8. Avoid fear
Changing careers later in life might have unanticipated repercussions, but it is important not to let fear and bad emotions keep you from accomplishing your career objectives. You may require the help of family and friends, but try your best to push through the fear.
9. Be open to working with young people
Changing career at 50 might mean working with Gen Z. Interestingly, some of your Gen Z coworkers might hold senior positions and hold opposing viewpoints. Accept input from your teammates to better learn your new field if you want to succeed in your new career.
- Be patient and optimistic
As I stated earlier, changing careers at 50 can be daunting. Thus, you must keep an optimistic attitude, even if it takes time. During this time, surround yourself with good energy and do things that will get you closer to your goals.
Career Change Ideas For The Over 50
Below, we will discuss some suitable career changes for persons above 50. It is okay if none of these careers resonates with you.
Below are career change ideas for you:
Average annual salary: $72,194
If you’re empathetic and have a lot of empathy, you might want to seek a job as a funeral arranger.
Working with the deceased is only one aspect of a career in funeral care. Working closely with families to ensure that the funeral represents their desires and provides emotional support while they are mourning is also an important element of the job.
Though the job is frequently difficult, there may be a lot of satisfaction in being a source of comfort for individuals at some of their most difficult moments.
Many firms may hire funeral arrangers with little to no experience if they have the correct attitude.
2. Sales roles
Average annual salary: $61,081
If, at 50, you still have the energy to persuade people, can give outstanding presentations, and enjoy a challenge, a career in sales might be for you.
Job opportunities in this field range from telesales assistant to account executive or sales director.
3. Life coach/mentor
Average annual salary: $60,140
At the ripe age of 50, I think you can easily handle a life coach/mentor role. You must have garnered enough life experience to be a life coach.
In a nutshell, a life coach advises people on how to modify their lifestyle to be happier.
While no official credentials are required to work as a life coach or mentor, studying for industry-specific certifications in your chosen sector is a good idea. This will make you appear more credible to your clients and will enhance your confidence and expertise when you first start out.
Average annual salary: $56,937
Why not consider teaching if you want to put your expertise in a certain field to good use? A rising number of adults in their 50s and 60s are returning to school to retrain as teachers. You might work as a regular or substitute teacher, provide individual tutoring, or even teach at adult education colleges.
Teaching is a rewarding profession where you may use your knowledge and skills to inspire others and connect with the younger generation. There are now opportunities in education in a variety of topics.
Average annual salary: $53,593
If you’re calm and secure behind the wheel and want to assist others in learning to drive, consider retraining as a driving teacher.
As a driving instructor, you’d get to help people of all ages improve their driving abilities and confidence. Some will have never driven before, while others may have passed their test but wish to brush up on their abilities. Each student will be on their own trip, and you will be the one to guide them safely there.
Average annual salary: $52,901
It’s possible that at 50, you just want to help those in need. Volunteering is a never-ending blessing. It gives them a feeling of purpose and teaches them new skills while also assisting worthy charities and those in need.
Many organizations and programs, from local charity stores to worldwide relief organizations, constantly need volunteers. Volunteering may also assist you transition to a new work by providing you with new skills and experiences to add to your resume.
Average annual salary: $50,776
Caregiving is a career in which you can truly make a difference in someone’s life. As a live-in or visiting caregiver, you will be assisting individuals in living happier and more fulfilled lives.
Some examples of social care jobs include personal caretakers, care home administrators, occupational therapists, and grief support coordinators.
Average annual salary: $43,240
When I think of changing careers at the age of 50, I find myself gearing towards entrepreneurship. Probably because, at that age, I would like to call the shots. It is normal if you find yourself gearing towards that field.
9. Pet sitter
Average annual salary: $40,262
Many pet owners might be too absorbed with daily living and may not have time to care for their pets. Well, if you enjoy working with animals, this might be an opportunity for you.
You will not only be your own boss, but you will also have a lot of fun in this profession if you have a lot of enthusiasm and a passion for animals.
Pet sitting chores include feeding, dog walking, and transporting animals to and from the veterinarian. Working with pets may be a terrific way to actively lower your stress levels at work – not many jobs can say that!
Average annual salary: $38,510
If you enjoy being around children and the concept of working flexible hours, a position in childcare may be precisely what you’re searching for.
In a childcare position, you will often care for and support children in a variety of ways, from assisting with homework to cooking supper while their parent(s) or carer(s) are away or at work.
You do not need any academic degrees to begin. The ideal approach to creating a client base is to list yourself as a Babysitter on websites like Childcare.co.uk, where local families may contact you if they require your services.
11. Virtual assistant
Average annual salary: $34,811
Becoming a virtual assistant means you may say goodbye to the monotony of 9-to-5 work and the hellish rush-hour drive. You may earn a solid living as a virtual assistant without leaving your house.
A virtual assistant (or VA) is someone who offers administrative assistance to businesses, entrepreneurs, and anybody else who requires assistance with ordinary work. You may work from your sofa, kitchen table, or wherever as long as you have a computer and an internet connection.
If you want to start networking and meeting clients, the ideal place to start is on freelancing websites like Fiverr or People per Hour. You may register as a virtual assistant on these sites and begin looking for employment.
12. Retail roles
Average annual salary: $30,637
If you enjoy working with people and prefer to be busy, you should consider working in retail. It may be an excellent way to stay socially engaged with your community while still being physically active. If you do not wish to work on the trade floor, a career in management or administration may be more suitable.
Advantages of a Career Change at 50
Changing careers at 50 can be scary, there is no doubt. But I believe that at 50, you will have a lot better understanding of who you are and your aspirations. This will allow you to spend less time guessing and more time pursuing your objectives shamelessly.
More so, at the age of 50, the experience you’ve gained over the years will come in handy. Knowing how work settings operate can offer you an advantage over those who are just starting out in their careers.
Disadvantages of Career Change at 50
Changing career as a younger person can be daunting. Talk more about doing the same at the age of 50. Changing jobs may be fraught with uncertainty and, as a result, stress.
Another disadvantage of changing careers at 50 is that you may need to work longer hours than usual to master new skills or just adapt to a new work environment. There is also the possibility that the long hours you put in might not be duly compensated.
Final Thoughts: Career Change At 50; Is It Possible
Whatever the reason for your change, of course, this is an exciting opportunity to try something new. It’s never too late to start a new and meaningful profession.
Many of the skills you’ve learned in past jobs will be transferrable, but don’t worry if you have gaps in your knowledge; you may always return to school to achieve a certificate in a sector that interests you.
Success in your future endeavors.