Let’s face it. A career change at any age is a challenge.
But a career change at 50? That could be exceptionally challenging.
Older applicants must often compete with younger, tech-savvy millennials. Hiring managers may question their skills or wonder if they can keep up in the modern workplace.
It could also be that you’re not sure what field you want to move into. If that’s the case, a career coach can evaluate your interests and help you choose a new professional path.
Whatever hurdles you’re facing, it’s possible to have a successful career change at 50. Here are five expert tips to make it happen.
How to Have a Successful Career Change at 50
1. Keep Up With Technology
Have you kept up with the latest technologies and trends in your field? If not, you have some catching up to do.
Whatever field you came from (or are trying to break into), you won’t get anywhere unless you’re comfortable with technology.
Are you familiar with LinkedIn? You should be, because 94% of hiring managers use it to find applicants.
Employers want to see an online presence beyond your resume. Start by opening accounts in LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You should also participate in online discussions and stay active with alumni and industry groups.
2. Highlight Your Mentoring Skills
Some employers may wonder how you’ll respond to a supervisor who’s younger than you.
Put those fears to rest by explaining how well you work with younger colleagues. Use real examples of times when you sought their help with technical or other challenges.
Impress your future boss by demonstrating your willingness to ask for help from someone younger. Then highlight how you were able to coach your junior colleague on leadership or management strategies.
3. Prove You’re Adaptable
Another common misconception is that older applicants are set in their ways and can’t adapt to changing times.
Again, this is the time to shatter those preconceived notions.
During the interview, talk about your flexibility and ways your management style has evolved. This is also a great chance to highlight your technical abilities and knack for learning new skills.
4. Use Professional Contacts
Over the years, you’ve likely built up a network of professional contacts. Don’t be shy about reaching out and letting them know you’re searching for a new job.
As with many areas of life, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. One of your former colleagues may be able to give you the perfect “in” at a new company.
If your contact list isn’t as big as you’d like, don’t despair. Embrace technology and create a compelling profile on LinkedIn to attract potential employers. You could also try sites like Retired Brain for mature, experienced job seekers.
5. Update Your Look
If you’re 55 and you walk into an interview dressed like a 20-year old, no one will take you seriously.
On the other hand, if you walk into an interview wearing the same tweed jacket you’ve had since 1983, no one will take you seriously, either. If you appear dated, employers may also assume you have dated skills.
Your attire should be appropriate for your age but also current and modern. This could involve buying a new suit or blouse or upgrading to a trendier pair of glasses.
A career change at 50 is not without challenges, but it is possible.
To compete in today’s market, another asset you will need is a solid resume. We invite you to learn more about our resume services and how they can help you land your dream job – at any age!