How to Change Careers in Your 50s

Starting afresh in your job at any age can be daunting. Career changes are after all disruptive events in life. People, however, still go for career changes because they are looking to improve their lives either financially, or quality-wise.

Key Takeaways

Starting afresh in your job at any age can be daunting. Career changes are after all disruptive events in life. People, however, still go for career changes because they are looking to improve their lives either financially, or quality-wise.

The good news is that starting a new career after the age of 50 isn't any more difficult than starting one in your 20s, 30s, or 40s.

The first and most crucial step is to decide what you want to do and how you want to get there. You'll also need to consider what you can offer a new company and how you can demonstrate that you're the proper fit for the job. We have some pointers to assist you to get started in your new position.

You are not alone if you are considering a career change. According to an EdX poll, 32% of workers are thinking about changing occupations, and 29% have already done so!

According to a new Harris Poll poll performed for Fast Company, the majority of American workers (52%) are thinking about shifting jobs this year, with as many as 44% having actual plans in place.

The world is your oyster if you wish to change occupations after your 50s. Instead of preparing for retirement in a few years, more people than ever before are seeking a change of careers. They want to re-energize their careers and prepare for at least another decade of professional life.

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Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course

A professional shift at the age of 50 can boost your happiness, passion, and activity levels. If your current job isn't fulfilling you, shifting careers can give new challenges and opportunities that will increase your job satisfaction.

It is, nevertheless, critical to understand how to make that transition in order to get the necessary results in your new job. In this post, we will examine how to change careers at the age of 50.

Incidentally, if you belong to another age group we have dedicated guides for those to:

  1. How to Change a Career in your 20s: 10 Tips
  2. How to Change Careers in Your 30s: Steps You Can Take Today
  3. How to Change Careers in Your 40s
Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

How to change careers in your 50s

Employers value people above the age of 50 for a variety of reasons. They have a wealth of experience, and a strong work ethic, are hard workers and are well-organized, efficient, and self-assured.

They also tend to stay in their jobs longer than younger employees, allowing them to preserve critical corporate knowledge. Being 50 or older can be an excellent age to begin a new job. You have a wide range of talents and expertise, as well as the mental agility to learn new things.

An IT career after 50, for example, is a great way to gear up for the future and if you have managed to accumulate management experience even in another field, you will likely move up the ladder fast.

If you are wondering how old is too old for a career change, read our special article on the subject.

Mature man using laptop while discussing information with colleague
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Four types of career changes at 50

There are four types of a career change and as a first step, you need to decide which one you want to go for.

1. A functional career change

This is the type of transition in which you do not leave your industry but simply seek a different job. You may even work for the same company.

This type of change is common when employees are promoted within their organizations; for example, an accountant may take a new job as a finance manager. He plans to stay with the same company but use his considerable accounting knowledge to develop new skills in finance.

2. An industry career change

In this form of a career shift, a person retains their positions and responsibilities while changing industries. They frequently enter industries where they have no prior experience.

An example of this type of transformation would be a lawyer specializing in employment or labor switching to criminal defense. This career shift may necessitate some online courses or study, but it is not impossible or out of the norm.

3. An entrepreneurial career change

This is one of the most common career changes for adults over the age of 50. They decide to leave the corporate world behind and pursue self-employment. Being their own boss and putting their startup concept to the test is frequently a lifelong ambition. They are seized by the entrepreneurial spirit.

4. A double career change

The most difficult transition is a double career change. It may feel like you're beginning over in life. It occurs when a person switches careers and industries. This is the point at which someone decides to forgo being an electrician and pursue a career as a marketer.

When you start a new job this way, you can't expect to have many transferrable abilities, but you do have intangible skills and experience from understanding yourself and creating relationships with others. 

You'll almost certainly need to learn new skills and seek professional advice from those in your new field.

After a profession where you have seniority and experience, a double career shift implies you'll start with little experience and few industry ties.

Interesting in finding out all of the steps to a successful career change? Check out the ultimate guide right here.

Ethnic man with beverage near taxi
Photo by Tim  Samuel

Steps you need to take to change career at 50

Changing occupations later in life might have unanticipated repercussions, but it is critical not to let fear and negative emotions keep you from accomplishing your career goals. You may require the help of family and friends, but do your best to push through the fear.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to transition to a new career at 50:

Consider more than just money

When changing careers at the age of 50, money may not be the most essential consideration in your decision. Your health, personal satisfaction, work-life balance, and self-actualization are all equally or even more important.

Ask yourself why you are unhappy at your current job and what will it take to make you happy. This will help you look for a new career that does not end up having the same issues that led to your dissatisfaction in the first place.

Conduct a self-evaluation

The first step is to examine yourself and your desired professional path. Discover what makes work appealing to you. A career consultant can help you make the best job choice. 

Age, health, retirement goals, abilities, and qualifications are all factors to consider. Create a list of potential vocations and careers for further inquiry at the end of the self-assessment.

Determine the career you want to pursue

Instead of looking for jobs for a 50-year-old man, just focus on what it is you are really trying to achieve.

After establishing a list of potential jobs, limit it down to one or two. Before you choose an occupation, research each one to find the one that best fits your interests, experience, and skills. 

Consider the career possibilities of each career, the industry's predicted growth, and the impact of technology on jobs in the next years.

Another thing to think about is your earning potential. While money may not be your primary motivation for shifting jobs, you may still require the new job to pay expenses and save for retirement.

It is preferable to choose a vocation that permits you to transfer abilities from your prior one. This way, you won't have to invest a lot of time and money in training and certification though this is not mandatory.

If you're considering a career shift and aren't sure where to begin, check out our special guide on the subject. You may also find the following two resources useful on your path to a job change: 7 Best Books for Career Changes and 6 Best Podcasts for Career Changes

Download Checklist " 10 Simple Steps to Smooth Job Change"

Here are some additional ideas to help you decide what you want to do:

Look for commonalities

Many industries have overlapping functions. If you can't locate a job that matches your talents and interests, search for commonalities in the tasks of your previous and current jobs. Although there may be minor variances, different fields frequently adopt the same management principles.

Project management, organization, computer abilities, interpersonal relationships, and honesty are all transferable skills. Finding common ground makes it easier to choose a new career where you can grow and achieve your goals.

Allow yourself plenty of time to think things through

Avoid rushing into a new career because you are dissatisfied with your current one. It is preferable to take your time researching all of your possibilities and weighing the benefits and disadvantages of each vocation in comparison to your current employment.

People in their 20s and 30s may have many more chances to switch careers but it is not practical for you in your 50s to keep readjusting your professional life.

Prepare to be flexible

When changing careers at 50, you may need to make some sacrifices to reach your goals. If you wish to shift occupations so that you may devote more time to family and recreational activities, an ideal job may pay less but provide more free time. 

You may also need to relocate to another city or state, take on new duties, or even return to school. A new career may necessitate sacrifices, which will necessitate some flexibility on your part.

Being adaptable also entails not limiting yourself to a single line of work. The best suitable occupation for your talents and experience may only provide part-time or contract work. 

Make use of your network

You may have established a large network of coworkers, friends, relatives, and acquaintances by the age of 50. Informing these folks about your intention to change occupations could lead to a number of opportunities.

Determine what the new job needs

Once you've identified a few jobs that pique your interest, think about what it will take to move into one of them. Certifications, degrees, or endorsements may be required or would make you a more competitive job prospect depending on the career. 

Look at recent job listings to see what skills are anticipated, and then talk to others who work in the field to see what additional expertise they propose. Certain employment may only require certification if you already have a bachelor's degree. 

Rebrand yourself

Once you've decided on a new career, start redefining yourself professionally. Change the way you show yourself in person and online to rebrand yourself. Don't wait till you have your new job to update your LinkedIn profile; do it now. 

This shows potential employers that you aren't only considering a change; you have already made the transition into their field.

Complete your strategy to make the new career a reality

Once you've determined what you need to accomplish to make the transition, transform those activities into specific action plans. Make short and long-term goals for what you want to accomplish, and assign a completion date to each. 

Your strategy could include:

  1. A list of new networking contacts in the field
  2. A mechanism for keeping track of who you've contacted and what you've sent them
  3. A folder containing your résumé, portfolio, and other resources for self-promotional opportunities
  4. Dates for job fairs, informative interviews, networking events, webinars, and other similar activities
  5. Plan and dates for skill development, seminars, workshops, volunteering, classes, certification, and other activities

Keep Going

Never give up, no matter how many times you fail to acquire a job, no matter how wonderful the situation appeared. There is no easy career change at 50, 40, 30, or any other age.

The only way to acquire what you desire is to pursue it relentlessly. You will eventually get what you want, but you must continue to aspire for it no matter what.

Final thoughts

We sincerely hope that our article about changing careers at forty has motivated you to take action. You can switch to your desired career by following our step-by-step guide above. Remember that you have transferable skills and what you don’t have can easily be acquired through a certificate course.

In case it can’t you can always go back to school and get a degree with evening classes.

It won't happen quickly. Remember that experience and age can be a definite benefit on the job market, so take pride in the efforts you've done to get here and have faith in the information and abilities you currently possess.

Finally, build a strong resume that highlights your strengths, transferable skills, and passion while building a strong consistent narrative that tells your story throughout the application process from the cover letter to the interview. We wish you the best of luck with your new career!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is 50 too old to change careers?

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Is it worth retraining at 50?

Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course
Click to learn more about Unmudl and Amazon Original Course
Last updated on:
March 5, 2024

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