I hear from so many people who are nervous or scared to make a career change in their fifties, even if they’re miserable at their current job. I get it. There are a lot of fears and insecurities that can creep up when you’re thinking about making any big change later in life. Don’t let that stop you from doing what you were created to do.
Of course, a midlife career change shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Take some time to think about whether this move makes sense for you, and if you’re truly in a good place financially, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually to make this kind of transition. Then, if you’ve weighed the pros and cons, done the research, and decided that a career change at 50 is the right move for you, here are some tips for making the transition as smooth as possible:
Update your resumé
If you haven’t updated your resumé in a few years, now’s the time. You might be overwhelmed at the thought of fitting all your work experience onto one page, but you don’t have to include 30 years of experience if it’s not important. Just focus on the work you’ve done that’s relevant to the job you have in mind. Keep it simple, to the point, and understand there’s no need to mention your age anywhere on your resumé.
Support is important
For big life changes like this, it’s important to have a support system. Whether it’s your family, friends, church group, or any group of trusted people who play a significant role in your life, let them know your plans for changing jobs and keep them updated on your progress. Not only will they provide accountability, but they’ll be much-needed cheerleaders and voices of truth and reason.
Your support system can also be a sounding board for your new career ideas. They might even be able to proofread your cover letter, or help you practice for interviews.
Use your relationships
When it comes to getting where you want to be, relationships are everything. But instead of stale, superficial networking, network the right way by using your web of genuine connections. You probably know a lot more people than you think, so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Even if you don’t have as many connections as you’d like right now, build some by getting to know people who are doing what you want to do. Take them to lunch, talk with them about what they love, and don’t love, about their jobs. You could wind up with a job lead, or at least get some clarity on what you really want to pursue.
Don’t focus on age
As you get ready to interview for a job, you might be hyper-focused on your age. The interviewer might not be thinking about that at all. Hopefully, they’re looking for the best person for the job. If they don’t bring up age, you don’t need to, either. If the interviewer brings up the age issue, say something simple and confident like, “I know I’m older than some, but I’m passionate about the work you’re doing here and want to be part of it.”
Remember, you have skills and experience that make you a valuable asset in the workplace. And the courage it takes to start a new career later in life is an attribute many employers will find very impressive!