Changing career at 50 plus

By Denise Taylor

Alphabet C Changing career might be something you have to do in the wake of redundancy or you may actively be seeking something new, not wanting to spend five, ten or more years in a job that bores you. If you already have a job, friends and family may consider you foolhardy, but we aren't all winding down to retirement.

Seven areas to consider before making a change:

1. Know your skills. Don't feel constrained by your CV. Unpick it and see all the underlying skills - and not just those gained from work. What about the ones gained from home, hobbies and other interests? A skills-based CV makes it easier to include our wider experience.

2. Understand what is important. Not everyone is seeking the highest possible salary, and if your children have left home and with mortgage paid off, salary might not be the key reason for taking a job. Think about what is important and what you truly value, so your career fits in with your values. 

3. Putting yourself first. Once our children have grown up and left home we have more time and energy to make decisions on the basis of what we want, not what others want. A positive spin-off is that when our children and friends see us take bold decisions, it might encourage them to do so too.

4. Being mature is a plus. So much in the media worships the cult of youth, but as we get older we have much more experience, can often stay calm when dealing with problems and can draw on our knowledge. This means that we are less likely to be affected by setbacks. We know we have come through these before and will be able to do so again.

5. Using our friends and contacts. Over the years we will have got to know many people, some we class as friends, others are more like business associates, but these people know people and can help give us the contact we need to both find out more about new careers and also to help us get an introduction to that important contact.

6. Let's not forget that you may face some challenges, but these can be overcome. We may be interviewed by someone who is young enough to be our son or daughter, and they can find it difficult both recruiting and also managing someone more mature, so we need to make it clear that we are certainly young in outlook and give examples of 'embracing change'. We need to let them know that it’s not a problem for us, but we also need to be careful not to be too assertive in our views on how things can be done, we can always learn from others.  

7. Once we decide to move into a new area, we are likely to get through the learning curve more quickly. as we can use our transferable skills and knowledge that will help us to solve many problems and deal with challenges. If we’ve done our research we will also be much clearer on why we’ve applied for work in this new area, be keen to make a success and thus focus our energy there.

* Written by Denise Taylor, a chartered occupational psychologist and award-winning career coach. Denise is the author of 'How to get a job in a recession' (see The author's opinions are her own and for general information only. Always seek independent financial advice.


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