Changing careers at any age can be frightening. When you’ve been in a certain career for some time, it’s easy to get stuck in your comfort zone. However, you could have several reasons for wanting to break out of this space of safety and branch into a new career, like the desire to try something new, needing to leave a toxic work environment, or a need for work that pays better and meets your financial needs.
If you’re older, transitioning into a new career may not be as straightforward. Some barriers that make many professionals reluctant to do so are the expenses involved and feelings of inadequacy. Another concern could be that by the time you’re able to reach the peak of your career, retirement may be right around the corner. Additionally, employers may be hesitant to bring you on board if you’ve been in a different career for many years.
Nonetheless, it isn’t an impossible goal to achieve and you can successfully change careers later in life. In this article, you’ll discover how you can navigate challenges that may arise and land the job you desire.
Know What You’re Looking For
If you’ve taken the brave step to embrace a new career in the latter years of your life, clearly define what you’re looking for. This is a good place to start, as knowing what you’re looking for can help you save time and money. Seeing as you may be closer to retirement years than you once were, you may not have as much time for trial and error.
Write down what you’re looking for in a new career, whether it be greater flexibility or a new challenge. For some, it may be about looking for a higher paid job in a different industry. If this is the case for you, do some investigating to see what the best-paid jobs in your sector are. Accounting and finance, as well as cybersecurity, are two examples of highly-paid professions.
That being said, personal satisfaction isn’t something that should be disregarded. No matter how old you are, you should live your passion, so when you look back there are no regrets. Just be realistic about what you can achieve in the time that you have left before you retire.
Take Time to Transition
While it can be tempting to quit your job and focus on a career change full-time, it may not be the most practical move to make. On the contrary, think about taking time to transition, which means staying at your current job until you find a new one. To transition professionally while you’re still employed, there are a few things you can do. For instance, you can start by updating your resume so that your experience, skills, and qualifications match the roles you’re looking for.
Another action you could take is improving your online presence, as that’s something employers are paying more attention to in the modern workforce. According to a study, 70% of employers use social media to assess applicants. Ask yourself whether you’re someone you’d hire if you came across your profile online. Ensure that you look both professional and interesting by updating your content and profile pictures.
Develop Your Skills
Every industry demands different skills, so find out which you’ll need to thrive in your new career. It could mean you have to develop new skills so that you’re better qualified for your desired roles. When you’re trying to change careers, updating your skills could show prospective employers that you’re adaptable and keen on learning. Being tech-savvy is an attractive skill to have as technology plays a major role in modern-day society.
Also, see if you can find any opportunities to gain more relevant experience such as by volunteering or working part-time. You may also be able to leverage on the current experience you have if it’s relevant to the industry you want to break into.
Consider Alternative Careers
Being flexible is necessary if you want to change careers later in life. There may be cases where your career options are limited and you have to make the most of the opportunities you have. For instance, if transitioning into another position would require you spending an exorbitant amount, you could take all of those years of experience and use them to become a professor, mentor, tutor, teacher for people in your previous field, instead. Teaching can be rewarding and it’s also a chance to impart the knowledge you’ve gained over the years in people keen on learning. Additionally, it will encourage you to update your knowledge, which is a way to expand your mind as you age.
Starting a business is another option to explore if you feel you’re ready to branch out on your own. Although building a business takes time, you’d have flexibility and limitless earning potential. Also, becoming an entrepreneur as opposed to retiring is a way of keeping yourself busy post-retirement. If you’re over 50 when starting a business, it’s especially recommended that you cover yourself financially by getting insurance. This will ensure unforeseen expenses or accidents don’t cripple you financially.
Changing careers is never going to be an easy step to take, so it requires courage. There will be times you’ll be uncomfortable as you’re following an unfamiliar path, but just know it can be worth it. Knowing that you were brave enough to follow your dreams may be the silver lining at the end of the journey.