Changing careers at any age can seem daunting, and in your 50’s it might appear downright impossible. But that simply isn’t the case. The Pew Research Center found that a steadily increasing number of American women are choosing to remain in the workforce today. Why stick around unless we love what we do? So, instead of thinking about retirement, let’s review 5 easy steps that will have you stepping into brighter future with a career you love!
Step 1: Embrace Change
We are all constantly changing as we mature, so why shouldn’t our careers choices also change? The jobs you found interesting at 25 may not reflect what you want at age 50+. Your interests, skills, and abilities have evolved. If you look back at how you chose your first career, you may realize that that choice was based on practicalities and not talents or abiding interests. Your focus may have been paying off student debt, meeting rent or a mortgage, family costs, or any number of other chance circumstances. But you’ve worked hard! And now you’re in a position to make a meaningful impact on your personal happiness by changing careers. So embrace the change!
Step 2: Know What You Want
Women in their prime benefit from a self-awareness that most younger women do not yet possess. Now is the time to stop and truly take stock of your current and past careers. Make a list of your ‘must haves’ and your ‘must not haves’ in your idea of the perfect career. When you imagine your Best Life, what do you see yourself working on? How do you want to be challenged and motivated? Is there a passion project you really want to explore? Once you know what you want to get out of changing careers — what your legacy will be — creating an actionable plan becomes much simpler.
Step 3: Recognize Your Worth
Don’t be scared of recent college grads as you consider the hiring process. Being 50+ is a plus! Applicants in their prime often appeal to recruiters and hiring managers because of the depth and breadth of experience. If you need to, brush up on the latest technology in your chosen field and polish off your buzz words. Walk in to every career opportunity and interview with positive energy and a smile. You are a valuable asset: know your worth, and never settle for less.
Step 4: Build Your Brand on Your Own Successes
As a women in her prime, you have years of accomplishments and successes upon which to build your personal brand. When drafting your resume and LinkedIn profile, highlight these accomplishments and the impact you have made in past roles. Look for strategic ways to apply your previous successes to new situations, setting you up as the ideal candidate for changing careers. Use percentages and numbers when possible as concrete evidence of your impact. This will increase the visibility of your achievements to prospective employers.
Step 5: Network That Elevator Pitch
A key advantage to having been in the workplace for several decades is that you’ve had the opportunity to build a strong network of professional contacts. Once you develop a clear picture of your goal, craft a quick and focused elevator pitch which lays out your professional value proposition to potential employers. This pitch is also useful as a callout to your network that you are in the market for a new career. Make sure your elevator pitch demonstrates your transferable skills to the targeted position. When your network spreads the word, you are much more likely to be connected to your ideal role.
There is no reason why we, as women in our prime, should tough it out in a less than fulfilling job. We mustn’t let age hold us back from a career we’re passionate about and a future that is bright with possibility!