Career Change at 50: Tips for a Smooth …

Career Change at 50: Tips for a Smooth Transition

When you've been in the same job for many years, it's common to lose some of the excitement and passion you once had. But if you've always had an interest in another industry or dreamt of a new career, your 50s can actually be a great time to chase that dream.

Making a career change at 50 doesn't need to be stressful. In reality, it's a chance to welcome a new challenge with optimism. Your experience and wisdom make you a sought-after candidate, and you possess a rich set of transferable skills.

Even if you're considering a different industry, you can always gain new skills and additional experience to ensure a successful transition. But it's important to know the steps to make this change successfully and get the results you want in your new career.

Here are tips for a smooth transition:


Start by taking some time for self-assessment. Ask yourself what truly interests you in your next career.

Take into account various factors like your age, overall health, retirement goals, as well as your skills and qualifications. Once you've completed this self-assessment, compile a list of potential careers and occupations to explore further. This step will set the stage for a successful career change journey.

Start by considering what truly matters to you in a career:

  • What are your core values?
  • What activities or causes ignite your passion?

Research and Exploring Careers

Once you've got your list of potential careers, it's time to narrow it down to one or two top choices. Before making your final decision, dig deeper and research each of these options thoroughly. Look for the one that matches best with your interests, experience, and skills.

Consider factors such as the job's future prospects, industry growth trends, and how technology might impact these positions in the coming years. Also, think about the earning potential – even if money isn't your main motivation for changing careers, you still need your new occupation to cover your bills and contribute to your retirement savings.

A smart move is to opt for a career that lets you leverage skills you've already acquired in your previous job. This way, you can avoid the extensive time and expenses often associated with training and certification in entirely new fields. Additionally, consulting job satisfaction surveys can provide valuable insights to help you determine if a particular occupation is the right fit for you.

Invest in Your Skills

When switching careers, it's essential to assess whether you need to gain new skills or enhance your existing ones. Some career changes may demand formal education or certifications, while others may mainly require upskilling in specific areas.

Start by identifying the skill gaps between your current abilities and what's needed in your desired field. Upskilling involves obtaining certifications and experience, which can take time. Consider whether you can pursue these while still working in your current job or if it requires more time commitment.

To upskill effectively, you can attend workshops, enroll in online courses, or become a member of professional associations. That way, you’ll gain the necessary skills but also expand your network and keep updated on industry trends.

Create an Impressive CV

Now that you've wrapped up your research, it's time to build a powerful resume that shines a spotlight on your skills and makes a strong case for your unique value to potential employers. One format that works particularly well, especially during a career change, is the hybrid resume (also called a combination resume).

Blending the traditional approach of listing your work history in reverse chronological order with the functional style that highlights your skills and accomplishments. In your cover letter, be upfront about your career change and share why you're eager to step into a new field.

Keep the tone positive and focus on your strengths and the valuable contributions you can bring to the table. This approach can help counter any unconscious bias potential employers may have due to your prior experience.

Embrace Rejection

In any job hunt, you're likely to encounter some setbacks and disappointments. It's perfectly normal not to land every job you apply for, even if you feel it was the perfect fit. What matters is how you handle these rejections.

It's important to cope with rejection and keep moving forward. One way to do this is by surrounding yourself with supportive and encouraging people who can uplift you during challenging times. Additionally, maintain a positive mindset and be mindful of your self-talk.

A career change is a journey that takes time, so treat yourself kindly and stay determined. You'll reach your destination.

Consult with a Career Consultant

If you’re thinking about a big career change, consider working with a professional career consultant. These experts provide guidance, help you identify your strengths and goals, and offer valuable insights into potential career paths.

A career consultant can assist you in creating a strategic plan, optimizing your resume and cover letter specifically for your new field, and preparing you for interviews in your chosen career. Their expertise can make your career transition smoother and significantly increase your chances of success.

Career Ideas

The best career choice for you will depend on your interests, skills, financial situation, and personal goals. It's important to research and assess each option and consider additional training or education if needed to make a successful transition into your new career at 50.

Here are some ideas where you can put your skills to use if you are looking into a career change at 50:

  • Consulting: Use your years of experience and expertise in your current or previous industry to become a consultant. Many companies value the insights and knowledge that seasoned professionals bring to the table.
  • Teaching or Education: Consider a career in teaching, either at the K-12 level or as a college instructor.
  • Real Estate: Become a real estate agent or property manager. Your life experience and networking skills can be advantageous in this field.
  • Entrepreneurship: Launch your own business or startup. Your years of industry knowledge can be valuable when starting a new venture.
  • Writing or Freelancing: If you have strong writing skills and knowledge in a specific area, consider a career in writing, blogging, or freelance content creation.
  • Human Resources: Your understanding of workplace dynamics can be an asset in human resources roles. Consider positions in HR management, training, or recruitment.