You’ve reached the point in your life where you’re over 50; you’ve worked in several careers perhaps some by choice some just by circumstance and you’re looking for a change. The problem is where do you start?
Recently, a fellow who lived near an airport at the end of a busy runway went into the airline HR department and asked to fill out an application for a job as a pilot. When asked his qualifications he said, “Well, I’ve watched thousands of planes land and take off and I’m sure I can do the job.”
If this sounds like you looking to change careers after 50, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and do some serious career planning.
Every career, except the most basic jobs, has threshold qualifications and requirements. Some are easy to qualify for, others like airline pilots take years of training and flying experience. If you’re 55 and could pass the physical requirements, and it would take you five years to qualify for the entry level pilot’s position, and the airlines have a mandatory age 60 retirement, you probably wouldn’t take this route.
On the other hand if you are 55 and your desire is to be an attorney, and it requires three years of additional schooling and passing the bar exam, go for it. But it requires along with the career planning after 50, the necessary financial planning carrying it off.
How then do you find the right career? First, do a self-assessment of you interests, skills, what you enjoy and what you do not want to do.
If a particular career does not jump off the page don’t worry as you do your career research the right career will come into focus.
Now we find individuals working in the proposed career field or fields. Find the individuals in local associations, Linkedin.com, alumni associations, and networking with friends and associates. Develop a short 10-15 minute interview, with questions that will provide you with the following: career educational requirements, necessary experience, employers that employ individuals in this career, where the employers are located and referrals to others to talk to regarding the proposed career.
Since you’re over 50 and thinking about making a career change you’ll be looking to short cut some job requirements. Like education, for example, you may through self-study and online learning speed up the education qualification requirements.
Also, through volunteer work with organizations and non-profits many times you can gain valuable work experience that translates well to meeting job experience requirements.
Additionally your research will provide you with salary ranges, promotional opportunities and if the needs for the career are growing.
All of this will now be reflected in your rewritten resume and cover letter. You’ll have a good start on preparation on good answers to tough job interview questions.
Career planning after 50 can be a time for reflection, to reassess your financial future and find the right job in the right career. Hopefully, this short article will get you started in the right direction in your career planning.