But Dont Underestimate The Challenge Ahead Of You
Kevin Smiths journey in tech has come full circle thanks to his midlife career change. After high school, he got a job as a technician building computer chips, and loaded up on programming classes as he studied electrical engineering in college. However, during his junior year, he quit school and his tech job to pursue his passion for music. He became a jazz guitarist, a cruise ship musician, and a music teacher after earning a masters degree in music.
But programming stayed in the back of Kevins mind, and at age 47, he jumped back in and started learning web development for real to train for a new career. I found freeCodeCamp and started there. I worked my butt off. I struggled through a lot of things, but some things started to click. YouTube videos helped me get through difficult spots.
The real challenge of his burgeoning coding career began once Kevin actually began job-hunting. Starting a new career at 50-ish does require patience! I probably sent out 500 applications, did 30 coding challenges, 20 phone interviews, and about 10 times I got to the second interview. I made it to the final stage three times.
Matt Edwards advice: Whatever your chosen method, you need to be aware that its not all sunshine and roses: there *will* be concepts that you find difficult to grasp and times when you question your sanity and wonder whether you are doing the right thing. Rest assured that everybody goes through it .
A Desire To Work At More Fulfilling Jobs
The desire to make a difference is one of the most frequent motives for career changes as you get older. Working for the greater good can bring a sense of fulfillment to the individual that other jobs simply cannot.
Opportunities in charitable work, education, healthcare, and environmental work are frequently sought after by those looking for a more fulfilling profession.
Many People Change Careers
The traditional narrative goes something like this: You prepare for a career, work hard, then reach some pinnacle after you’ve achieved goals, eventually retiring in that field. But, due to the ways the workforce and the economy have evolved, that linear progression is changing. Instead of sticking with one field for most of their working lives, many midcareer professionals are making big career shifts. According to a 2019 survey by Indeed, roughly half of employees surveyed said they had made at least one total career change.
What motivated them to do so? The top reason was to make more money. But career switchers had other strong reasons, as well. More than three-quarters made the change because wanted to either continue learning and moving forward professionally or because they no longer felt satisfied in the field they were in.
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Here Are Strategies Professionals Say Helped Them In The Fourth Decade Of Their Work Lives
After landing several interviews but not the jobs, Ms. Rouse said she asked an interviewer whether her age was a factor.
Even in a hot hiring market, it is tough for workers over 50 to stay competitive in workplaces that often value youth over experience.
The pandemic has been especially hard on older employees seeking to reclaim jobs lost in the early days of lockdowns. Many say they fear that the workplace upheaval brought on by Covid-19 has reinforced some bosses belief that professionals in their 50s and beyond are less inclined to return to offices or adapt to new ways of working.
Getsetup Connects Job Seekers 50+ With Age
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GetSetUp is on a mission to help those over 55 learn new skills, connect with others and unlock new life experiences.
GetSetUp Learners come to GetSetUp to learn new skills, upskill, reskill, and follow their passions or find the jobs they are most interested in pursuing.
The program uses technology, employer showcases, and support services to assist people 50+ in finding employment
Skilling and matching experienced workers with jobs available today is a win for both the job seeker and employers struggling to find the right talent.
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Changing Careers: It Doesnt Have To Be The Big Bang
Its worth pointing out that career changes can be more imperceptible than infinite. If you love your job but are stifled by its outputs, changing industry might appeal to you. A job in internal communications or marketing will produce content that varies wildly from one industry to another. Take professional service firms such as legal or accounting in which your craft could be limited to corporate tax accounting or compliance. However, in the not-for-profit sector, this type of work is likely to be rich with purpose and help you to feel that you are making a real difference with your work.
Consulting, on the other hand, offers the choice to pivot, doing the same work, but in the manner of subject matter expert, applying your years of experience in a freelance capacity. Although relatively new, there is now an accreditation route through CMI to validate your awareness of consulting best practices, to kickstart confidence and credibility.
How To Frame Your Cover Letter When You Make A Career Change At 50
When making a career change, your cover letter is the ultimate opportunity to explain any gaps in your resume.
Chances are, a hiring manager will probably be pretty confused after reading your resume. The cover letter lets you answer any questions and silence any doubts that they have about why youre the best person for this job theyre trying to fill.
The most important part about a career change cover letter is clearly indicating how the skills and experience you have fills the needs of the employer. Your passion and story behind the career change make for great emotional content, but you wont land any interviews if the hiring manager cant tell off the bat how you would be able to perform this role and meet the companys needs.
Here is where you craft your argument for why your unconventional background makes you the perfect candidate for the job.
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How To Approach Changing Careers At 50 And Beyond
Transiting to a completely different career is likely to involve planning. To help guide you on the process, here are some steps to consider.
Its worth noting that along with these practical considerations, you will encounter the obligatory naysayer along the way . If Im being honest, this may come from someone who has been your cheerleader in every other aspect of your life. My mother has never been able to understand my need for self-development, my drive to be better. Why cant you just enjoy what you have? she wails.
So, from the younger generation you will be lambasted for even considering going to college (to quote my 11-year-old son when I was considering a Masters: You wont be going into college, will you? I mean, it will all be online with the camera turned off?. Equally disparaging but from the perspective that you should jolly well make do with your lot, enters the parental point of view.
So, in the words of Paulo Coelho , repeat after me: There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
Practical Tips On Making A Career Change At 50+
So youve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:
1. Deal with the Fear
As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.
If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google Career Coach for your options.
I also recommend using the services of a professional counsellor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.
Its always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.
2. Know Your Why
Its important that you have a clear understanding of the why you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?
3. Be Realistic
Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.
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Why Consider A Career Change At 50
wanting to work fewer hours with less stress
facing redundancy or struggling to find a new role
desiring a change or new challenge
having fewer family responsibilities, allowing you more flexibility in your schedule
You can decide to make a career change at any age, especially if you believe that changing careers could give you new opportunities and even help you achieve some lifelong goals. Even after earning a level of seniority in your current position, you may find that a new career allows you to increase your own happiness and satisfaction at work, leading to higher levels of overall mental health and wellbeing.
At 92 Years Old I Still Enjoy Writing Every Day You Just Have To Believe That You Can Do It
For example, there’s our wonderful student Mavis who enrolled on our Fiction Writing course at the ripe age of 92. Her goal was admirable, ‘I want to keep my brain active. It’s so easy to just sit back and do nothing. This is not good for the brain and turns it to mush. I want to write. I’ve lived a long time, through many key periods of history, and I want to create something special that people can read and remember. Something that touches their hearts and shares some truth about what life has been like growing over ten decades.
‘At 92, it’s not about success anymore. It’s about waking up and enjoying every moment, and I feel I can do that through the words I use. I love coming up with new phrases, and I get excited when ideas come together. I don’t think we’re too old to do anything. You just have to believe that you can do it.’
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Why Make A Midlife Career Change Into Tech
Switching to a job in tech can be a good idea for a number of reasons! Here are some reasons why learning how to start an IT career at 40 is a compelling option:
Furthermore, starting a career in IT at 40+ might actually give you extra advantages compared to someone younger. For instance
- You have existing skills: You can draw on your previous industry knowledge and skills to get a foot in the door, since tech know-how is needed in all kinds of fields. For example, if you spent a lot of your career working in the finance industry, getting a tech job in the finance industry could give you a leg up over the competition.
- You have a better idea of what you like / want: Since you already have experience in the world of work, you understand what you like and dont like, your strengths and weaknesses, etc. This makes it easier to choose a career path that suits you.
- You might have contacts: Especially if youre looking to stay in your current industry, you already know people! That could help you get referrals to land your first job as a developer or software engineer.
Ultimately, coding careers are some of the best jobs to retrain for at 50 or around that age, since they offer flexibility, the chance to save more for retirement, etc.
Start coding now
% Of Over 50s Want A Career Change And 59% Of People Retrain For A New Career At 50
Only 10% of people in their 50s said that they felt comfortable in their current roles. And even then, they weren’t ready to slow down. One surveyee, aged 58, commented, ‘I’ve worked my whole life. I’ve got a good pension on the go. While I’m not actively looking for a new career, I do like the idea of learning a new hobby or a new language when I retire. I’m an avid gardener, so learning about design or landscaping would be a nice change of pace. I’ve always wanted to grow my own pumpkins or a geranium patch with a small water centrepiece, turning my garden into a mini paradise.’
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The Excitement Of Something New
Whatever the reason behind your change in direction, you have a wonderful opportunity to embrace something new and exciting. With many active years ahead of you, its never too late to find a rewarding new career.
Many of the skills you have acquired in previous positions will be transferable but if there are gaps in your knowledge, you can always go back to school to obtain a qualification in a field that interests you.
And remember you have the experience and maturity thats going to make you a very attractive candidate for prospective employers.
Good luck with your next adventure!
Have you recently made a career change? Or are you thinking about doing so? Wed love to hear from you! Join the conversation over on the Rest Less community forum, or leave a comment below.
Have Confidence In Yourself
Taking a leap into something new can be confronting and challenging and this can hold many people back from trying. But if you go for a role you love, youll be bringing with you positivity and proactiveness: two highly valuable qualities employers look for in candidates.
You can work to improve your confidence by reaching out to those in your desired industry or role, Brushfield says. Talk to them and find out what it takes to do their job. Establish connections, research the people and products or even become involved in your desired career on a pro bono basis.
And dont worry about burning bridges. Just because you are beginning a new career does not mean you are closing doors on your current work partnerships. Your connections can be your biggest supporters in driving your ambition to find a role you that suits you. Look for ways to make these people or connections work for you, rather than against you.
Changing careers in your 40s, 50s or 60s can be daunting. But planning, preparing and presenting your unique skills and experience to potential employers can set you well on your way. After all, youve worked hard to get to where you are so know that leveraging that to take steps forward can lead you to a job you love.
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The Responsibility Thats Added When Youre Going To Open Your Own Business
Many times when people discover new passions later in life that transitions into opening ones own business. While being your own boss sounds amazing for someone at age 50, becoming a business owner with absolutely no experience can be incredibly daunting.
Taking online or in person classes might be the way to go in order to ensure success. Of course, the feasibility and necessity of taking business classes varies on a case by case basis. But no matter your situation, Civiletto recommends that all new business owners hire a trusted accountant in order to avoid drastic mistakes in the first few years of business.
How Can I Find A Job At 50
When you are job hunting at any age, but especially mid-life, connections and networking help find out about good jobs. Use your alumni network, friends, and family members, and reach out to former colleagues if you have been out of the workforce. Online job listing sites, LinkedIn, and even social media sites list work opportunities. If you can afford it, consider volunteering or even interning at a workplace in a field of interest and build on that experience to find a paying job.
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The Age Of Career Changers
Welcome to the age of career changers. New career in your 50s? Why the hell not. Old is the new gold. In this piece we explore the idea of not sticking to a restrictive framework and linear path, no matter what your age.
To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. I think if he had the chance to write that letter over, he might add change to lifes inexorable certainties.
Sometimes we choose change, and sometimes it chooses us. What Im suggesting here is that change in your professional life, for example, can be good. Dare I say, great even no matter how it came about.
To Advance Your Career
Switching careers at 50 can provide an opportunity to gain a higher level of professional achievement. You likely have gathered immense experience and expertise that can be useful in another field or industry. For example, due to todays changing newspaper environment, a newspaper editor may shift to online content editing for a companys website. Changing careers allows you to choose an occupation or position where you can use your skills to deliver the best results and enjoy higher job satisfaction.
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