How to Reinvent Your Career After 50

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Do the names Colonel Sanders, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Julia Child sound familiar? These wildly successful people didn’t find their career sweet spot until after they were 50 years old. If you are an older adult who is considering a new occupation, you’re not alone. Whether you’re seeking a reboot or want to try something new, here are tips on how to reinvent your career after 50. 

  1. Take stock. It’s worth pushing the pause button, if you can, and taking the time to assess what you want to do and how that fits with your skill set and desires. Some people write it down in an outline they use as a roadmap. Ask yourself: What did you do in the past? Where are you now? What do you want to do going forward? 
  1. Assess your financial situation. Financial concerns may drive your decision. If your career ended abruptly, you may not only have an urgent need for a paycheck but also for health insurance. If so, seeking a career with health insurance could be a priority. 
  1. Consider options. There may never be a better time to pursue an “encore” career. That’s because technology has issued in so many new options, with more flexibility, referred to as the “gig economy.” Here are some of the more popular gig economy careers enjoyed by 50-plus workers: 
  • Independent consultant 
  • Entrepreneur 
  • Amazon (variety of positions) 
  • Educator 
  • Dash, Uber, Care.com, Instacart, Upwork 
  1. Learn new skills. Often, the dream job you now have a chance to pursue may require new skills or knowledge. Many older people enjoy the experience of returning to college – whether on campus or virtually, which is now common due to the pandemic. At college, you also can take advantage of career counseling. 
  1. Brush up your resume. Whether you want to stay in the same industry, but just want to pursue a different job, or you are seeking a totally different career path, your next step may be to polish your resume. Be sure to take advantage of other career-assistance, such as LinkedIn, which can help you network. Other pro tips: YouTube tutorials and job boards at companies and professional organizations. 
How to reinvent your career after 50 – some final thoughts. 

Seeking a new career past 50 may feel scary. Change almost always makes us feel a little uncomfortable. But those who push past their doubts may find a grand adventure lies just ahead. 

As Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. observed, “A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” 

Find more help getting started with Growing Bolder’s Encore Career Worksheet.

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