Making a Career Change as an Older Adult: The Complete Guide
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What do you do when the world no longer seems to be your oyster?
You took the rose-coloured glasses off a while ago and are starting to see things in a different light. Ageism in the workplace has been pressing into you like a blunt thumb-tac; it’s a dull pain you’ve convinced yourself to learn to live with.
But how is that fair? You’re not ready to retire; in fact, you know you’ve got a good couple of decades left in you before you throw in the towel. That’s a long time to spend in a job that doesn’t excite you the way it used to.
The tough thing about the world at this age is that it seems to look past your experience and wisdom, and pigeonholes you into stereotypes. And, unfortunately, it’s all too easy to begin to believe them yourself.
Any number of professional tribulations could be pushing you to further doubt yourself, or be causing that niggle of unhappiness. Perhaps it is:
- A high-pressure career that has pushed you to burn out
- Stunted career progression in your job
- Fear you don’t have the skills necessary to survive in the future of work
- Or any other professional struggle.
Despite what you might believe, you don’t have to settle for an unsatisfactory career in your older age.
A Career Change Will Reignite Your Professional Passion
Getting out of your career to start a fresh one may not have occurred to you as a means of overcoming these and reigniting your professional passion. But, if you’re looking for a clean slate, a mature age career change is one of the best ways to achieve that.
Career changes will always be scary: no matter how old you are, or whether you’re moving into a new role in your industry or starting an entirely new path. And, when you’re slightly older and you’ve been in your job for many years, there’s the added lure to stay where you’re comfortable. The learning curve that comes with any new job seems too steep from where you’re standing, and you can never be sure you’re not jumping from one sinking ship onto another.
But aren’t these hurdles the very thing that makes a new path so rewarding? And, surely, you can’t tell yourself you haven’t leapt over them before.
So, to circle back: what do you do when the world no longer seems your oyster?
Reinvent your world.
How to Know When You Should Change Careers Over 50
Often, the most challenging part of something isn’t even starting – it’s making the decision to start. Changing careers is no exception. When you get that niggle of unhappiness, it’s much easier to ignore it or put it down to a bad week. When you start to entertain the idea of a career change, it seems risky – terrifying even. It’s better to stay where you’re safe, right?
The short answer: not always.
There are four career red flags that you absolutely shouldn’t ignore. These are the things that will see your mental and physical health deteriorate, and pull every last bit of enjoyment from, not only your job but your life.
If you’re experiencing any (or a combination) of these career red flags, it’s likely a sign that there is something far more fulfilling out there for you.
Find out what they are, and whether you’re experiencing any of them now.
“I Don’t Know What to do With My Life.” Career Change Ideas for Older Adults
You can’t start a journey from halfway, though. When you find yourself thinking, “I don’t know what to do with my life,” the first step is to try to find out where your passion lies. It’s a question that perplexes people of all ages.
Career options for people over 50 are as vast and exciting as they are for younger people, which can make the decision harder. It’s difficult to narrow them down to the best ones, but here we’ve compiled a list of nine based on some things you might be looking for in your new career:
- Bigger challenges
- Less stress
- Financial security
- Personal fulfilment
- Career progression.
If any of these things stand out to you, learn more about the jobs that could help you achieve them.
Seniors Over 60: The 10 Best Jobs for You
If you are over 60 and looking for a clean slate to reinvigorate your professional life – part-time – you needn’t worry about what’s out there for you.
Thinking you’d like to spend more time outdoors? Would you prefer to find a rewarding career helping kids? Maybe you’d like to work from home and finally do away with the daily commute.
These 10 flexible jobs could be perfect for you.
Don’t Want to Retire? Why You Should Start a Business in Your 60’s
Society has led us to believe a lot of falsehoods about entrepreneurship. It’s always a young uni graduate (or dropout) seeking to break away from the 9-5 mould and create something they’re passionate about. However, as much as pop culture would have us agree, the reality is far different.
Did you know that over a third of Australian start-ups have a baby boomer-aged 55-64 at the helm? Or that this age group is the fastest-growing cohort of Australian entrepreneurs?
Want to bypass a few of the more unsavoury things involved in changing careers – such as age discrimination or starting again in an entry-level role? Starting a business is a way around it. You get to be your own boss, create your own schedule and focus on building something you’re passionate about.
One of the best parts of starting a business in your 60’s is that you’ll have access to networks and financial capital that younger people simply wouldn’t. Pair that with a lifetime of experience and wisdom, and success is practically sitting in the palm of your hand.
Of course, there are risks, as with any career change.
In this article, we explore what they are and how to avoid them, as well as how to prepare for the demands of your new venture.
What’s it Like to be a Mature Age Student?
You know what you want in your professional life, but your own doubts (or perhaps the doubts of others) are casting a fog over your path to succeeding.
You might feel like you need to upskill to stay on top of the fast-paced digitalisation of your industry (trust us, you’re not the only what’s it like to be a mature age student feature one feeling anxious about it). Or, if you’re trying to kick-start a career change in a totally new industry, you might be wanting to update your skillset to appeal to employers and keep feelings of ‘imposter syndrome’ at bay.
There are, of course, excellent options in further study to help you do these things; from micro-credentials to apprenticeships, to certificates and diplomas. However, many people feel intimidated by the thought of pursuing further education as an older adult – more so for those who’ve never studied beyond high school.
There are challenges in further study, but there are also many advantages you mightn’t have considered. Here we explore what it’s really like to be a mature-age student – from challenges to rewards.
How to Get Work Experience in a New Industry (as an Older Adult)
Work experience will never just be for high schoolers and graduates. We tend to believe that it’s a practice that purely benefits employers, creating industry-ready employees with practical knowledge. But it’s an even better opportunity for employees looking to change careers: to dip a toe in the water of a new industry.
Often we have preconceived notions of what our dream career will be like, but sometimes these don’t stand true. Work experience as an older adult is an ideal way to figure out if you’re really going to enjoy your new career. Plus, as someone who likely already has friends and networks across industries, you’ll likely get your hands on a role quickly.
These are our tips for finding and securing the work experience placement that could kick-start your career change.
How to Avoid Ageism on Your Over-50 Career Hunt
Ageism is one of the most insidious forms of workplace discrimination. It’s difficult to pick up on, and even harder to prove. Since it’s an illegal practice, most of it happens under the table.
With one in three employers admitting to having an invisible age limit on job advertisements, it’s highly likely you’ll come up against ageism in your mature age career change journey. However, it’s not impossible to dodge – with the right tricks.
From modernising your resume to finding the perfect way to answer ageist interview questions, this article explores how you can avoid this vicious practice and find a clear path into your dream job.
How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter: 50+ Year Olds
Ah, the cover letter. Your first opportunity to showcase yourself, your personality, and your passion to a prospective employer. No matter what age, your cover letter is often the difference between getting shortlisted for an interview and never hearing a peep from the company.
Writing a good one, that is both exciting and professional, isn’t a simple task. The cover letter is often the most high-effort aspect of a job application. That effort needs to double if you’re trying to change careers.
Your skills may not necessarily align, and you’re trying to sell yourself on personality and passion alone. So how can you write a perfect career change cover letter? This article will offer practical advice on how to write one you can be proud of.
It will offer:
- A cover letter template
- Tips on how to show a prospective employer why your age makes you so valuable
- A list of transferable skills (that you likely already have) that can help you back up your suitability for any role.
How to Finance a Career Change Later in Life
Changing careers later in life is a lot more high-stakes than a 20-something still dabbling in different fields. Especially from a financial perspective.
As an older adult, you’ve likely got a family relying on you financially, or you’re probably accustomed to earning a certain amount, with living expenses to match. If you’re ill-prepared for a potential drop in salary, that can be disastrous.
Luckily, personal finance expert and CEO of Savvy Finance, Bill Tsouvalas, has more than a few tips when it comes to budgeting. In this article, he talks about bucket budgeting for a family, debt consolidation, and how you can invest in yourself and your future without sacrificing financial security.
Find out what his advice is.
How to Change Careers Over 50: Insights From Someone Who Succeeded
Amanda Falconer is someone who knows the challenges of starting a fresh career over 50. “When you leave something that you’ve done for a long time, and you branch out into an area that’s quite different from what you’re doing, it is very easy to think, ‘Oh, I’m an idiot,’ or ‘This isn’t going to work,’” Amanda told us.
But now, as living proof that your self-doubts cannot (and should not) determine your potential, Amanda shares the insights she’s learned on her journey.
In this article, Amanda takes us on a deep dive into the emotions, challenges, and rewards of changing careers over 50. From figuring out what you actually want to do next, to overcoming the mental challenges, and why it’s so important to pursue a career love.
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