Whether it’s looking for a change of pace through part-time work or starting a new career, here are ways to handle a career change at 50 or even later.
In this article:
- Don’t View Age as a Liability
- Introduce Yourself
- Tailor-Fit Your Resume for Every Job Application
- Show That You’re a Good Fit
- Keep Your Tech Skills Sharp
- Focus on Your Skills
- Add a Profile Picture
- Dress for the Role and the Company
- Ask the Right Questions
- Acknowledge Your Age and Decision to Make a Career Change at 50
- Consider Seeing a Career Coach
How to Make a Career Change at 50 | Tips for a Smoother Midlife Career Shift
1. Don’t View Age as a Liability
Age isn’t a liability to your job prospects. In fact, your work ethic and wealth of life experience make you an asset in the multigenerational workforce.
Being an older worker puts you in a unique position. Having more experience and skills in your arsenal gives you the right tools to mentor others and resolve workplace conflicts.
2. Introduce Yourself
A lot of older people subscribe to the philosophy of keeping their heads down, getting work done, and clocking out at the end of the day. As a result, they hadn’t thought about the value of touching base with their professional contacts and network around for new opportunities.
Attend employer panels and other networking events to keep your communication skills sharp. Who knows? Your next job may be just around the corner.
3. Tailor-Fit Your Resume for Every Job Application
To save time and resources, employers use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to sort out which applicants should be shortlisted for an interview. Because of this, job-searching nowadays requires you to tailor-fit your resume to each employer you apply to so you can ensure your name appears first on the results.
Be sure to keep track of all the resumes you send out. Save a copy using the company name and position you’re applying for so you can easily find it later.
4. Show That You’re a Good Fit
A challenge of making a career change at 50 is fitting in since some company cultures are centered around people in their 20s and 30s. However, you don’t need to understand all the social media and millennial lingo to get a job.
Include the skills and accomplishments that matter to your job description and show them that what you’re offering matches what they’re looking for. Let the hiring committee know you’re excited to work with people from different generations and you’re open to learning new things.
5. Keep Your Tech Skills Sharp
One bad bit of news for people making a career change at 50 is this — hiring managers tend to assume that because you’re older, your tech skills are obsolete. List any skills, certifications, and other knowledge you have about technology, social media, and other tools.
Your LinkedIn profile is the perfect place to show off your skills. Fill your summary and experience sections with photos, videos, and presentations. When asking for LinkedIn recommendations, ask colleagues, clients, and other professional contacts to highlight concrete examples that emphasize your skillset.
If you feel like you need a boost, you can look into taking some refresher courses, but don’t go too much to the extreme. You can’t go from one career to another without losing your experience advantage.
6. Focus on Your Skills
Format your resume in a way that highlights your skills without drawing attention to the dates. Include the highlights at your most recent employer, followed by those from jobs from the past 10 years.
You should still include your employment history but place it further down the page. Your most recent experiences should take center stage on top as that’s where hiring managers look first.
7. Add a Profile Picture
Did you know LinkedIn profiles with a profile photo are 14 times more likely to be viewed than profiles without one? You may be worried about hiring managers not giving you a chance if they see your graying hair, but the key is having your photo show who you are as a working professional, which means no photos of you with your kids or grandkids.
8. Dress for the Role and the Company
The right clothing makes you feel comfortable in your job interview, which increases your chances of getting the job. As “corporate clothing” can mean different things to different companies, a Google Image search can be a great help if you have no idea what people who work in the company you’re applying for wear.
9. Ask the Right Questions
Asking the right questions subtly shows the hiring manager you’ve got relevant work experience. It shows you have a good understanding of how the workplace functions, which is something most younger professionals may not have.
10. Acknowledge Your Age and Decision to Make a Career Change at 50
Sometimes you can’t avoid the feeling that your age is giving the managers a pause. If you sense this feeling creeping in, don’t hesitate to raise the issue yourself.
Take the opportunity to be upfront about your age. Being proactive about it sends the message that you’re not afraid to confront the hard issues straight-on. If they’re decent people, they won’t hold it against you, and it suggests many things about how your working relationship would be.
11. Consider Seeing a Career Coach
If it’s been a while since your last job search, you may need a refresher on how to navigate the present work environment. A career counselor can teach you what’s new in the working world, how to optimize your profile for applicant tracking systems, and new ways to look for jobs.
Navigating a career change at 50 can seem daunting and even scary, but with the right preparation, you can make the right career choices and pursue your goals.
Did you make a career change at 50 or are you planning to make a career change at 50? Let us know in the comments section below.