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NewsSwitching Careers After 50

Switching Careers After 50

At FiftyUp Club we often tell members to compare, switch and save when it comes to household bills like energy, life insurance, health insurance and more.

But what if you want to switch careers?

While we don’t have an offer for FiftyUp Club members on career switching, we can provide tips and help guide you into finding the new career.

Dawn Graham, Director of Career Management for the Executive MBA Program at The Wharton School and host of Career Talk on Sirius XM Radio, says “seize success”.

TO “SEIZE SUCCESS” YOU NEED A PLAN.

Your plan should include:

  • YOUR SKILLS
  • YOUR INTEREST
  • THE JOB MARKET

Your plan will fall in the sweet spot where all three meet (see Venn diagram below).

WHAT DO YOU BRING TO THE TABLE?

Are you a whiz at analytics? A know-it-all in rocket science? Your skillset is everything you know from your current or previous jobs/careers. They may be things you want to keep doing OR they may be things you never want to do again. You’ll need to decide if you want to learn new skills or use what you know.

WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?

If you spent most of your career miserable and in a job you hated, you are more than likely not wanting to go back into that field. So what are your interests? Stamp collecting? Dog walking? Volunteering at a shelter? Reading to others? Take what you love to do and make it your new career.


 

WHAT IS ON THE JOB MARKET?

Now that you have mapped out your skills and plotted out your interests, it’s time to look at the job market. You’ll want to find jobs that match your skills and interests. To find them, there is of course, the traditional route like job ads in a newspaper, but you need to think “bigger picture” and look at LinkedIn, Facebook (yes, they have a jobs board), Gumtree, and networking!

Most online applications use a computerized Applicant Tracking System (ATS), that scan online resumes and applications for the right keywords and experience the employer is seeking. This is where networking will help you get past the computerized bias. You can network face-to-face, online by reaching out to hiring managers, or in meetup groups.

Example: if you know someone at a place you want to apply, have them introduce you to the hiring manager or send your resume through OR if you are on LinkedIn, do not hesitate to reach out and introduce yourself to the hiring manager.

Now that you have a list of jobs you want to apply for polish up your resume to reflect your skills to match what the job application is looking for. Each resume sent should be customised for each application since not all job applications want the same thing. It is handy to create a list or spreadsheet of jobs you have applied for and what resume you sent out.

If all of the above sounds daunting, don’t hesitate to reach out to a career coach to assist you in your career switch.

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Switching Careers After 50

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Anonymous
Anonymous from NSW commented:

I'm 57 have been nursing for 40 years unfortunately I lost my job. I live in the country and I cannot for love or money find a job. No one wants us old experienced people anymore 

Anonymous
Anonymous from VIC commented:

I'm a healthy 64 y.o. and a qualified structural engineer, have been a registered builder and project manager. I can't get a look-in as a residential housing site supervisor despite there being about 6 new advertised positions weekly in the Bayside, SE suburbs of Melb. I can do this with my eyes closed and do it well, but not even one call. 

Sue
Sue from QLD commented:

I left work at 60 due to my health - have been told by Centrelink and an employment agency - I am unemployable. I have showed my detailed resume and advised I have degrees in Criminology and a Masters in Education - at which point I was told to go and find a volunteer job and work for the dole until retirement as I am extremely unemployable with all my qualifications...!! 

Karen
Karen from NSW replied to Sue:

Why not start giving tuition to school kids? It's something you could do at home or at least in your local area. There are even on-line tuition centres where tuition is given face to face using skype or similar. Or even help international students with their assignments. With a Master of Education you do have options outside bricks and mortar schools. 

christine
christine from NSW commented:

There is definite age discrimination in the labour market. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from QLD replied to christine:

absoultely 

Val
Val from QLD commented:

Yes I guess we are all pretty much in the same boat - well over 200 applications and 3 interviews- unfortunately I'm not great at talking about what I can do - I'm just good at doing it - therefore anyone who loves talking about what they can do (which doesn't always translate to actually doing it better than me) will win out. Anyway onward and upward and it will happen eventually. 

George
George from NSW commented:

All rubbish, as after 50 employers won't look at you unless you have PRIOR EXPERIENCE! Best not to change careers if possible. Especially if you are already great at what you do! These consultants are a waste of time and money. Govt has a lot to answer for - destroyed jobs through shutting down industries, outsourcing massive numbers of jobs to Asia, and importing unnecessary workers through the 457 visas! Should have imposed an Outsourcing tax (sat 15-20%) and stopped industries shutting down by protecting local companies, and limited 457 visas to the very, very bare minimum only. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from QLD commented:

Hi, I am multi skilled in many areas with several solid qualifications and the proven experience behind it. I have also refreshed my qualifications by gaining additional ones, however as soon as the perspective employer realizes that I am over 50 gives me the same answer "Sorry you are not the right fit for the job." I am sick of it.In the last 6 months I have applied for well over 200 jobs and only got a handful of replies and only 2 interviews. Ageism is really bad. I have so much to offer, my kids are all grown up so I do not juggle life work and childcare anymore, I have more dedication, less social distractions, more motivations and more experience, I have put all of this in all of my cover letters and yet nothing. This is beyond depressing. I don't know what they are looking for anymore, knowledge, experience? Reliability? A perky set of boobs? 

Andrew
Andrew from QLD commented:

I sold my business when I was 49. Having been in the same business all my life I had many skills but no qualifications. Since then I have gained several qualifications including a full electrical apprenticeship a cert IV in training and assessment a cert III in fitting and turning and currently employed as a robotic technician which involves traveling the world installing and servicing robotic machinery. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from QLD commented:

Hello - I am desperate to find a new job after recently being made redundant. I have a wealth of advanced office admin experience (more than 20 years) but am struggling to be noticed. I have called and emailed several agencies keen to meet with a consultant face to face without success. They have suggested that they can only work with my most recent experience for now (office management for a fashion production company) and basically dismiss anything I did before that. It appears that candidates are pigeon holed right from the get go. Administration is administration - differs very little from industry to industry - but they will only refer candidates for jobs relating to the recent industry they worked in. On another note, I agree that tailoring a Resume for each application makes great sense, when the bulk of jobs are offered and administered via SEEK.com. If you are applying for two jobs at the same time via the online job site - that require the same basic skill set but with a stronger focus on different areas - it makes sense to highlight the experience relating to the most important attributes for each role. However this it not possible as you can only have one Resume available to view at any given time. I have applied for 10 jobs via Seek - had my application 'seen' for three of them - no correspondence from 8 of them. One interview (that went very well with a promise of contact the following week - but no phone call and no reply to follow up email), one thanks but no thanks email. The process is quite frustrating and depressing. I feel relieved when I see a job advert with a contact email or web address for lodging applications but they are few and far between. I would love to hear from anyone who can suggest how I can get off this stressful round about, thanks in advance Tracey 

Anonymous
Anonymous from QLD commented:

Hi Tracey, Yes it can be surprisingly challenging, and an currently in transition after being retrenched last year. I was really encouraged after listening a practical yet powerful audio book by Christy Frank last month, Stand Out and Succeed https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25563175-stand-out-and-succeed. I have used her tips to change my resume, mindset and strategy. I’ve become accredited as a DISC behavioral consultant doing freelance work, plus studying my Cert IV in Training & Assessment as well as temping through a recruitment agency, which gives current experience as well as the chance for organisations to ‘try before they buy’ as well. I’ve bounced back in my confidence and self belief of the value I bring to the marketplace. I hope this resource SOS by Christy Frank helps you as much as it did me. It is truly one of the best I’ve ever seen. I wish you every success! 

Mary
Mary from NSW commented:

It is great to read a positive reply. I ran my own gallery/custom framer business for 25 years before stepping into the Carer Role for my Mum and then my Dad for 4 years. As life in retail has changed so much I figured I'd try earning a wage for at the age of 53. I am a realist about the job market and know there are no easy slides into employment, but I also know that if there are opportunities in the online space. In the meantime I volunteer in organizations that associate with history/geneology, & MealsOnWheels as it is rewarding. The most important thing is keeping in touch with the work space where your interest lies. Resumes and interviews are challenging, but having an opportunity to SHOW people who you are and what you can do (and at least have them as referees) is another course of action. :-D Innes 

Karen
Karen from NSW commented:

I agree Anonymous admin is admin and perfect for virtual assistants. All you need is a computer and away you go. Check out sites like freelancer.com.au. It's a bit like temping but you work from home. Experience, accuracy and reliability are paramount - things us 'oldies' have in spades! And a piece of advice about submitting resumes and letters via seek. You don't have to upload a CV to seek for all jobs. You can add one from your computer. That way you can adjust the resume for each job and attach it to the application. The thing is, most applications these days are scanned by a computer loaded with an algorithm which looks for certain keywords. If your application doesn't contain those words no human will get to see it no matter how good a match you may otherwise be. I am not unsympathetic to your predicament because I have been there. Mid 50s and made redundant. It took 14 months and over 650 applications before I finally got a job. Hang in there and check out virtual assistants. 

Anonymous
Anonymous from QLD commented:

in a job that frankly they do not want older workers and we are treated that way as well problem being there are no jobs for older people like my self 

Anonymous
Anonymous from WA commented:

So true, I have been looking for work since we moved back to QLD, I have had several replies to my applications but no jobs, I get the impression as soon as I have given a copy of my licence or passport for proof of ID and eligibility to work in Australia they look at the age and say no thanks as I get the "unfortunately you were unsuccessful" email, with 20+ years working in Australia (various different states) and overseas you think they would like to utilise the experience 

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