How to change careers in your 50s

Changing careers in your 50s comes with its own unique challenges but it’s definitely not impossible. Whether you’re after a change of pace, want to pursue the career you’ve always wanted or are looking to take on new challenges, here are some steps you can take to overcome any hurdles and find a job that you love.

Put in the right preparation

Changing careers in your 50s is a great opportunity for a fresh start and one that will allow you to find a career that you find truly fulfilling. Making a career change later in life also means you may have plenty more to consider – financial commitments, retirement plans and also the practicalities of being able to actually make the career change a reality. Starting fresh in a completely new field might also mean you will need to retrain, or pursue a role that may not be at a comparable level to the one you previously had.

How to change careers in your 50s

To make the transition into a new role a much smoother process, it can help if you’re open to being flexible and embracing the idea of change. It’s also worth making sure that your finances are in order to take the stress out of trying to secure a new role. The last thing you want to do is to jeopardise your retirement plans or put yourself in a financially precarious position by making a snap decision. Having a mind clear of any worries means you’ll be in a much better space to enjoy and thrive in your new career.

Look at your strengths

Take stock and identify what’s in your current skill set. You might have skills that could be carried across most industries, such as strong management and communication skills. If you find that you have gaps to fill, consider volunteering your time to help gain some on-the-job experience. Along with gaining experience, a study from the University of Ulster found that volunteering has also been shown to have benefits to mental and physical health, helps reduce stress and offers volunteers a fresh outlook on life.

Consider further training

If you’re moving into a new industry or field, you might require a new qualification to secure a position. If so, there are plenty of courses available, both online and on campus, that will enable you to upskill. With technology playing such a huge part in today’s job market, you may consider taking a short course to brush up on your computer skills to further strengthen yourself as a potential candidate.

Reach out to your contacts

One advantage you have over other jobseekers is the extensive network of contacts you’ve built from your time in the workforce. If you want to change jobs, but don’t necessarily want to change fields, reach out to your contacts and let them know you’re open to new roles. This is a great way to keep abreast of new opportunities.

Use your experience

If you’re after a change of pace and scenery, having years of experience in a particular field is a great way to transition into a teaching role. This will enable you to utilise your existing skills and knowledge to teach others. You can start small by offering your services as a tutor or trainer, but you could consider upgrading your qualifications so you could teach at a university or TAFE.

Start or buy a business

After working for someone else for a large part of your career, you might want to step away from the 9 to 5 routine and consider branching out on your own. While being your own boss is an appealing prospect, starting your own business or even buying an existing one will require you to have the know-how to build and maintain a business. If your background isn’t in business, you may need to consider retraining with a small business course to acquire the necessary skills.

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