Statistically, not many people have the courage to make a career change after 50. In recent years, 80% of people over 45 years old consider changing their careers but only 6% of those go through with it. There’s a general sense that companies don’t want to hire more seasoned workers, but this isn’t the case! Many employers value the years of experience, strong work ethic, and business acumen attained from a longer career. Read more for 5 tips on how to plan for a career change.
- Highlight Your Skills
Transferable skills are the key to changing careers. These are typically soft skills that can be applied to any position, like leadership, customer service, time management, and problem solving. But sometimes more technical skills can be transferrable too! If you’re a nurse who uses Microsoft Word in your daily work, that can also be useful if you’d like to transition to an administrative office job. When creating your resume, make sure to list all the skills that you have learned.
- Rebrand Yourself
No matter your age, rebranding yourself can help you succeed in changing your career. First, define your objective for your rebranding. Are you aiming to change hiring managers’ perspective? Are you looking to highlight a specific skill? Once you determine your goal, you can start looking for ways to achieve it. This could mean going back to school to obtain a certification or degree that will position you as a current expert. It could also mean altering your resume with a headline that will call out your strengths in a particular area. Another idea is to join a networking group – either virtually or in-person – that will help you target people within your new field.
- Utilize LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a multifaceted tool that you should put to good use. First, you should update your profile with your rebranded persona in mind. Update skills, include keywords that apply to your new industry, and upload your most recent resume. Next, join groups that are appropriate for the field you’re looking to enter as well as alumni groups or other networking groups. Finally, research companies in your new field and reach out to current or former employees through LinkedIn’s messaging feature.
- Develop an Elevator Speech
Hiring managers will likely have questions about why you decided to change careers. They want to know your intentions with the company and what your goals are for the future. Crafting an elevator speech – a 30-second description of who you are and what you’re looking for – is a great way to address the hiring managers’ concerns and set the tone for an interview. You can also use it to practice while networking. For example:
Hi! My name is Amelia and I am interested in entering the airline industry. I have been a nurse for the last 25 years, which has given me a solid foundation in working with people and solving problems quickly. I’m looking for a change because while I love helping people, nursing has become very bureaucratic and there’s too much red tape involved. I think I’d be a great flight attendant because I can return my focus to helping others – plus I love to fly!
- Track Your Progress
The job search can be chaotic no matter what age you are or what type of position you’re looking for. Make sure you stay organized and keep your tailored resumes and cover letters easily identifiable to keep from getting them mixed up. Set milestones for yourself to stay on track and identify areas to work on. It’s also helpful to create a spreadsheet or other document to keep track of job applications you have sent and interviews you’ve had. You can record any feedback and make notes on things you can improve.
Making a career change after 50 can be daunting, but your work in these areas could really pay off! If you work hard at positioning yourself and highlighting your skills, employers who value your experience and skills will be happy to have you join their teams.