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Why waste time in a career or looking for a job in a career that you don’t feel happy in? If you feel that it’s time for a change, there’s no reason age should hold you back. Here are ten tips.

Times change. The days of spending your entire career in one industry – or even in one company – are gone. People change careers every day. And there’s no reason age should prevent you from doing the same. After all with the retirement age rising all the time, at age 50 you potentially have another 25 years of employment ahead of you!

Of course, change can be daunting. There’s comfort in familiarity. But if you feel it’s time to reassess the path of your career, there’s little to gain in waiting.

There’s no shame in losing passion for the career path you started decades ago. Changing industries at any age can prevent your career from stagnating. It also provides you with a new challenge, keeps you mentally agile and can give you a renewed sense of purpose.

Here are ten tips to take on board if you are thinking of changing career at 50+.

1. Reflect

Unless you’re in the privileged position of knowing exactly what you want to do next, you’re going to need to embark on a period of reflection. Why do you feel the need for change? Maybe you want to move on to something more spiritually or financially rewarding. Or something that gives you more time to spend with your nearest and dearest.

It’s time to turn detective and take a deep look inwards. Think about the elements of your career that you’ve most enjoyed so far – as well as those you’ve disliked. Consider the types of people you have most enjoyed interacting with. Were they customers or colleagues? What do you admire about the careers of your closest friends?

2. Get creative with your transferable skills

Across industries, the pace of change seems to grow more rapid by the year. That leaves a growing number of more mature professionals feeling as if their skills become less relevant as the years race by. A shift of mindset is required. Because you most likely have skills and experience that many employers will find invaluable. You just need to think critically about your talents and be creative about how your skill set could transfer to other industries. And don’t forget soft skills are every bit as important as technical knowhow.

3. Get some career advice

Career advice is seriously underrated. And don’t subscribe to the misconception that it’s just for school leavers. You devote the majority of your waking hours as an adult to your career. A little advice can go a long way to fostering career happiness and promoting confident career choices.

A good career expert will be able to tell you what studies or qualifications you might need to explore to unlock your next choice of career direction. Or provide advice on careers that you may be well-suited to with your particular skill set and experience. We might be able to help or point you in the right direction – let’s have a chat about your career.

4. Decide whether you want to go it alone

Perhaps it’s autonomy you crave. You relish the challenge of building your own business from scratch. And after years of watching people get it wrong, you’ve learnt a thing or two about getting it right. Is this your time to shine?

5. Network

You have most likely built up an extensive professional network over the years. Now is the time to use it. Quiz old colleagues on their careers. Ask about openings at their companies. You can’t ask too many questions at this point, especially if you’re struggling to find a direction that feels right.

6. Make use of LinkedIn

It’s not just digital natives that can flourish on social media. LinkedIn is an incredible resource for marketing your professional skills and finding exciting new career opportunities.

7. Get some new skills

In the age of information, ignorance is a choice. There are oodles of fantastic courses available – see the training section of Exeter Works for details. Likewise many colleges and universities have courses that you can join. Expand your skill set. Take a course on social media or digital strategy. Research emerging technologies like IoT, blockchain or artificial intelligence – they’re going to disrupt every industry.

8. Be prepared for a pay cut

Of course, changing your career or going self-employed may require accepting a temporary drop in income. Money isn’t everything, but it is something to consider. Particular if you have a mortgage to pay or children to support.

9. Redo your CV

When was the last time you took a look at your CV? Chances are it needs a little TLC. Better yet, start again from scratch – aiming to limit your efforts to two pages (three maximum). Don’t worry. There’s no need for an exhaustive rundown of your career. Always open up with relevant experience from the last ten to fifteen years of your career (adjusting your CV for the role you’re applying for). Then you can provide a brief summary of your employment history with dates. (Want some help? Ask us.)

10. Apply anyway

If you are starting on the bottom rung of a new career, some job vacancies that interest you may be targeted at a younger audience. They may ask for certain skills that you don’t have. That doesn’t necessarily need to deter you. You don’t need to be the perfect fit for the person spec if you believe strongly enough that you can make a difference. Again, focus on your transferable skills.

Advantage you!

You have an invaluable advantage: experience. You can talk with conviction about what you want and don’t want in a career because you’re further along the journey. And the deeper you progress into your career, the more unique you and your professional skill set becomes. Use that to your advantage. There’s a huge amount you can offer a generation that has never known a world without the internet.

Know your value and act with conviction.


Cathedral Appointments is Exeter’s leading specialist independent recruitment consultancy.  We have 30 years’ experience helping people across Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset to find jobs that get them excited about working.