Making a career change is never easy, but when you are over 50, it can be particularly challenging. Deciding to switch gears and pursue a new path after years of working in a particular field can be daunting.
You may be facing ageism, a lack of relevant skills, and a competitive job market. But don’t let these challenges discourage you. Many people have successfully navigated a career change after 50 and have found renewed fulfilment and satisfaction in their work.
In fact, making a career change can be an opportunity to pursue your passions, and grow both personally and professionally.
In this article, we will explore some of the common challenges faced by those making a career change after 50 and provide tips and strategies for overcoming them. So, if you’re considering a new job or opportunity, read on to learn how you can make a successful transition.
Challenges of a career change after 50
A recent survey revealed that 73% of working women want to change careers. Although almost half of the survey respondents are confident that they are competent enough to move to another job successfully, many things stop them from taking the leap. One of the most notable reasons was their age.
Changing careers on its own is already an overwhelming dilemma for women, but things get even more complicated when age is involved.
The list of things that worry ladies about shifting to another career after 50 never ends.
Some of them think their chances of attaining successful employment crash when they are over 50 years old, for others making a career change in midlife feels like fighting a losing battle: after spending years building a new path in another industry, they believe jumping into a new and unfamiliar job involves too many risks with little chance of success.
In addition, midlife women feel they have fewer job options and won’t be able to keep up with the work demands and new industry standards, especially if they have been out of the job market for an extended time, having brought up their children or looked after their sick loved ones.
While the concerns mentioned above might be valid and compelling, women should not shut their doors to the possibility of changing career paths.
Women who succeeded in changing careers after 50
Not many may think that having a career change after 50 is possible, but it happened many times before. Here are some iconic women who lived to tell the tale:
Melissa Richardson ran a modeling agency called Take 2 for almost 30 years, but at 55 years old, she decided to pursue another career path. So in 2009, she founded Jam Jar Flowers, a floral arrangements and art pieces studio.
Rosie Pratt is another great woman known for shifting from one distinct career to another. She worked as a city lawyer for nearly 25 years, but as her children grew older, she pursued another job close to her heart. At 50, Rosie started training to become a veterinary nurse.
Another inspiring woman would be the then Fleet Street journalist Hilary Kingsley. She spent over 40 years in journalism, but at 60 years old, Hilary quit her job and decided to study law. After becoming a full-fledged lawyer, Hilary specialized in media law.
These women are only some of the many more who reinvented themselves career-wise after 50. Instead of thinking their lives would be over and succumbing to a midlife crisis, these women chose to rise to the occasion. They are a living testament that nothing fazes a driven woman.
Starting a new career at 50
There are no manual instructions on how to make a career change after 50 but, based on the actions of those who made this dream a reality, there are a few things you should remember when beginning your next chapter.
Here are some tips for you.
Reflect on your values and interests
Take some time to consider what is most important to you in a career. Ask yourself about your values, passions, and the things you enjoy doing most. Being familiar with and embracing these factors can help you identify a career path that feels right for you. Thus, choose a new career that aligns with your principles because it is the basis for your work satisfaction.
Update your skills and knowledge
Investing time in revisiting old hobbies or remastering skills you once set aside is wise. Doing so will help build your confidence and competency in a new job or industry. Nowadays, one of the best ways to upskill that does not take too much of your time and money is learning asynchronously through online courses.
Strengthen your networks for a career change
Nicole Williams, a career expert and founder of the anti-trafficking charitable organization ELLA WORKS, expressed that “having the right connections can make a difference when it comes to sealing a deal or landing a new client.” It is never enough to simply put yourself out there.
Networking is undoubtedly a crucial tool for finding new careers. Considering the worsening condition of job competition in all industries, you should establish ties with personalities who may bring value to your name as a professional.
Establish a professional online presence
Nowadays, recruiters actively screen applicants’ online activities as part of the application process. For that reason, it is crucial to establish a professional online brand to showcase your competencies and create a positive impression. One of the most efficient ways to achieve this goal is by curating a LinkedIn account.
“Your LinkedIn profile is a powerful tool to reposition yourself for a new industry, role or both. LinkedIn is public and searchable, so not only prospective employers and recruiters might view it, but also potential connections who can offer information, leads or other support,” says executive recruiter, career coach, and founder of Dream Career Club, Caroline Ceniza-Levine.
Be open to starting at the bottom
It is normal to take a pay cut when shifting to a new career. However, while receiving a lower compensation compared to your previous job can be challenging, you should be open to starting at the bottom and working your way up.
After all, you are still building on valuable experience and finding new growth opportunities.
Keep an open mind
A career change is never easy, and it may take some time to find the right fit. Thus, you must keep an open mind and be willing to try new things. As you widen your horizons, it will be easier to discover new passions and career paths that you may not have considered before. Besides, sticking too hard with what you already know will only stunt your growth in a new work environment.
Ladies, success can happen at any age. To those who keep asking, “can I change my career at 50?” please know that there is no gender or age limit to career success. So instead of wondering whether you can or cannot, determine how to make a career change at 50. Your chances of career progression after a shift will only increase if you keep hustling.