There is a perception out there that finding a job or starting a new career after the age of 50 can be very challenging and even not possible. I’m here to tell you that it is possible and tell you how you can start a new career after 50.
First, let’s go back a little, you’ve had a great career so far. You have worked hard all your life, have been successful at your job and then one day you wake up and you want to do something more meaningful, you want to be fulfilled, you want to contribute to humanity. Your priorities are not the same as when you first started working where your focus was on paying the rent or mortgage and having food on the table. Those things are no longer a priority since you have the funds and the means to cover that. You find yourself thinking that maybe you are not being practical and that at 50 the responsible thing to do is stay where you are and think about your retirement! On the other hand, you feel healthy and energized and would like to do work that is meaningful, have more fun or feel more fulfilled until you do decide to retire.
I will give you 3 steps on how to start a new career after 50
1. Know yourself
This is a crucial step in knowing exactly what you have to offer, what you are passionate about and what matters the most to you. Before updating your resume take a look at your past and write down the following:
- What do you feel are your strengths?
- What did you enjoy doing in your job or jobs?
- What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
- What are some of the accomplishments you are proud of?
- What are some of the accomplishments you were recognized?
- If money was no concern, what would you be doing?
- Should you take time and resources for education?
- Are you looking at a totally different career change or maybe start a business?
2. Update your brand
Your brand is widely used these days in reference to your resume, your LinkedIn profile and any other website or platform where you have a profile. The first thing to do would be to google your name to see how and where you appear in a search to make sure there are no negativities associated with your name. Then using the information you gathered above, update your resume and LinkedIn with the things that matter most to you and include the accomplishments that you are most proud of. I have some great samples of resumes if you are stuck. Your LinkedIn profile should reflect your resume. Make sure your picture is an updated one and include a summary with keywords of things you want to do. LinkedIn is a search tool, people go on it to search for people by name or by keywords. This is why I believe that your resume is your past and your resume is your future.
3. Network, network, network
I can almost see you cringe when you read “network”. Just to clear things up, I’m not talking about going to networking events and engage with people that are there. I’m talking about setting up one-on-one meetings with people in your network or people you connected through other people or on LinkedIn. At this stage of your life, applying online will sap your energy and your soul. Engaging in meaningful conversations discovering what other people do, where they work and most importantly of all, how you can help them. Start with people you know and schedule a 20 minutes meeting. Twenty minutes is all you need in getting the information you need and being respectful of your guest’s time. Also, come prepared with an agenda and a set of questions about them, how they got started, how do they like working at their current company. Make sure you don’t go over the 20 minutes unless your guest says it’s ok. At the end ask for referrals of other people that does the same as them, if a career change is what you’re looking for or the names of other people that work in the same organization, if a company change is what you’re looking for. These activities will educate you about people’s careers and/or where they work. This will also uncover opportunities and the “hidden” job market.
The same goes for if you’re thinking about starting a business and moving into a consultant role. Be curious and first go out and talk to business owners of business you like or ask a consultant how he got started or how he gets is contracts, etc. I’ve spoken to many consultant and contractors that have made the switch and never looked back. Engaging in these conversations will also grow your network and find more of like-minded people like you and maybe job opportunities.
A great book on this is “The 20-Minute Networking Meeting – Professional Edition: Learn to Network. Get a Job.” There are also an Executive and Student editions.
These activities can be fun and a great way to take inventory of yourself, catch up with old friends, make new ones and uncover opportunities that you would have never known existed. The internet has made looking for a job easier for the job searcher and a nightmare for the companies looking to hire. Applying online can be futile. Go out there and connect face to face and you will gain so much.
If you are thinking about a career or job change or starting a business or consulting, or you have a question about “how to start a new career after 50”, I would love to hear it in the comments below.
If you would like a copy of my worksheet on your value proposition send me an email at email@example.com and I would be more than happy to send it off to you.
Go for it! You Got This!
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Power You Ahead