Helpful Resources on Making a Career Change
Changing careers is something that happens many times throughout our life. The Financial Times estimates that a person goes through five careers in a lifetime. As a teenager and young adult, we may change jobs every few months; but as we age, our jobs tend to last longer and a new career at 50 can feel much more abrupt and jarring.
There are many advantages (and obviously a few disadvantages) to going through a career change at 50, but overall the good far outweighs the bad. We’ve definitely felt the pressure of being swept up and overwhelmed by factors that seem stacked against us, but we just kept going, and we came out on the other side with some helpful hints to handling a major career shift.
1. You’ve Got What They Want – Be Confident!
Countless novels written by CEO’s and company leaders list all the assets necessary to be hirable in the job market. But we’ve found that typically, an employer is really looking for some confidence, kindness in the way you do business and treat coworkers, experience, and training.
Now when you put it that way, it doesn’t seem so difficult to make yourself look hirable in today’s market. These are all skills and assets that improve with time spent in the workplace. We looked at our own varied experience, and while it may not line up perfectly with the duties of this new field, it certainly speaks to major principles like work ethic and ability to learn quickly.
If you really look, you probably have years of experience in other careers, and perhaps even experience building a family that can translate easily to leadership and coaching skills in a new job!
It’s all about knowing how to market yourself and your skills properly. We started by taking a look at how the basic foundations of our previous jobs lined up with this new career and tried to tailor our prior skills on a resume to highlight these similarities. This way, we were able to show new employers exactly how much we’ve learned that could be of use on the job.
2. Be Open to Learning New Things
The big hurdle that we had to clear in order to shift to a new career was the fact that the environment is so different. Every workplace has employers who do things differently, use new software, and set new expectations.
We took this as an opportunity to treat each new challenge like an opportunity to learn and grow. This way, we learned to allow pressure to encourage rather than scare us. Let each job in this path teach you more and more about how to be the best employee you can be.
3. Find that Work/Life Balance
With a career change later in life, we pretty much overlooked the challenges that quickly rose up relating to balancing the workload and stress of a new career with day-to-day life. Pets, family, health, it all becomes increasingly difficult to manage properly with the change. Planning, we found out, was a crucial step that could not be skipped!
Make use of planners, note-taking apps, and other methods to track and notate important events and deadlines. You may not have needed this type of micromanaging prior to the shift, but it is a huge help to be able to mark and notate tasks, progress, and to-do lists when getting used to a new field.
It is also important to not forget mental and physical well-being. Exercising and eating healthily has a major impact on work performance, as well as stress-relief and relaxation. Things like getting to the gym and eating a healthy, balanced diet can be put aside during a career shift, but is important to keep up with.
4. Positive Self Talk
Above all else, our advice to anyone going through with a major career change at 50 is to remember that it is difficult, but that you are strong and capable for pushing through. Confidence is the best gift you can give yourself!