This article was last updated on 20/07/2023
It’s never too late to make a change whether that be in your home life or work life. Changing careers at 50 could be one of the most rewarding things you do, and if the prospect of up to two more decades doing your current role fills you with dread, this could be the perfect time to take the leap. Here are a few things to consider to ensure a successful career change.
Career change ideas
Lots of things can trigger the desire for a career change. It could be as simple as hating your current job, wanting a slower pace of life or craving a challenge as you enter a new phase of your life.
The government actively supports training programmes for the over 50s and there are a range of short courses you can do and apprenticeships you can apply for, if you’d like to retrain. Depending on what you’d like to do next, you may not need to retrain at all and could use the skills and experience you already have. Here are some of the most popular jobs you could choose for your second career.
Becoming a consultant can be a great way to use the knowledge you’ve gained throughout your career in a different way to help others. It’s also flexible so you can tailor the hours to your lifestyle and cherry pick the clients you work with.
An entrepreneur may sound like a scary job title, but if you have a burning business idea, or two, and the skills to get it off the ground, what could be better than being your own boss and building a business from scratch?
In most parts of the world there’s a shortage of teachers and the UK’s no exception. Not only will you find it easy to find work once you’ve trained, you’ll have the job satisfaction that comes with giving something back and helping the next generation prepare for the world of work.
Registered nurse or carer
If you love helping people and are prepared to retrain, nursing is one of the most rewarding careers a person can have. You’ll get to look after people in their hour of need and can work flexibly.
While the internet and modern technology might be daunting to some, it’s very much the future and one of the key areas for job growth in the UK. Once you’ve learned how to code you can pick and choose your projects, either working in-house for a company that aligns to your values or freelance on a project by project basis.
Career change advice
Once you’ve made the decision to change career at 50, where do you start? The key is not to do it alone and there’s lots of places you can seek help and advice. Beyond friends, family and colleagues, it could be worth speaking to a recruiter. While they may initially try to offer you similar roles to the one you’re in now, after a little explanation they can be a good sounding board to help you figure out what your next move could be based on your experience and desires.
A career coach or mentor may be able to provide more valuable insight, while getting out of your comfort zone and attending networking events could throw up an unexpected idea or opportunity. The government’s National Careers Service is a helpful resource which, among other things, offers a free Skills Health Check. This set of quizzes is specially designed to help you explore your skills, interests and motivations and can give you a clearer idea of what kind of jobs might be right for you.
Career change at 50 tips
Changing your career is never easy and it only gets more daunting the longer you wait. Here are four tips to help you transition into your new career.
Create a good CV and tailor it to the jobs you’re applying for
The job market is forever changing and the way people hire for roles has evolved too. Artificial intelligence is creeping its way into recruitment and if the company you’re applying to is particularly tech-savvy they may use machine learning algorithms to check your application. That means your CV needs to be on point, referencing the role as much as possible and reflecting the language used.
While your application may not always be pre-screened by a robot, it’s good practice to get into the habit of spelling out exactly why you’re perfect for the role rather than talking generally about your experience and how the skills could be transferable. You should always edit your CV to match each job, pulling out the key things the company is looking for and highlighting your most relevant experience. The National Careers Service has some useful tips.
Discuss the benefits in your interview
These days, most full-time roles come with lots of added benefits like private health care, workplace pensions and discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask what the benefits are in your interview and find out more information about the company’s stance on issues like flexible working and pay equality.
As you get closer to retirement, topping up your pension will become increasingly important so a key benefit to discuss is your workplace pension. All employers have to make a minimum contribution of 3% of your annual salary through Auto-Enrolment. Some employers may be prepared to pay more than the legal requirement so it’s worth investigating further.
Find and combine your old pensions, so you don’t lose track
The more jobs you’ve had in your career, the more pensions you’ll have to manage. Changing jobs is a great reminder to think about all of your old workplace pensions and how they’re performing. If there are any you’ve lost track of, you can use the government’s Pension Tracing Service to help find them.
Once you know where all of your pensions are and how they’re performing, you might want to consider consolidating them into one simple plan. That way you’ll only have one pension to manage and will be able to easily track how your pot’s performing. When you’re in the early stages of your career this might not be so important, but as you approach retirement you’ll what to know exactly how much money you have saved.
Whether it’s throughout the interview process or in the first few months of your new job, it’s important to remain positive. Making a career change at 50 is a brave decision and you should embrace all of the excitement and adventures that come along with it. That’s not to say it isn’t going to be tough, but believing in yourself and remembering why you’ve made the decision to change careers should pull you through. Always remember the value of the decades worth of work and life experience you have, and use it to your advantage.