Having to switch careers and finding a job later in life can undoubtedly be a rewarding experience, but it certainly does not come without obstacles and setbacks. While it might be challenging to figure out what job you would like to dedicate your next years to, today, there are endless opportunities out for grabs—if you only know where to find them!
An older person can find a job by evaluating their unique skill set and valuing their past professional experiences and abilities. Once you have a clear idea of the dream job for you, update your skills and resume and start looking on job boards, online, or through friends and family.
If you are looking for a job, check out the step-by-step guide below!
Look Into the Benefits of Switching Career Later in Life
Finding a new job later in life is all about determination and commitment. While some younger candidates’ resumes have a better chance to be spotted by recruiters, your possibilities are not limited either!
And, moving onto a new job later in life can help you benefit from your past experience and interests built over time. Here are a few advantages of this choice that go beyond merely improving your finances!
Leverage the Evolving Job Market
Firstly, it is worth considering that the job market is much different today from what it used to be. Indeed, you would have been more likely to follow a straight career path in the past that would take you to a rewarding job position in which you would stay until retirement.
However, today, the situation could not be more different! As highlighted by an insightful Forbes article, professionals are switching from a company to another. Also, from a job position to a different one constantly. So, while there is competition among candidates, there is also competition among companies.
This trend has brought an increasing number of recruiters to offer more benefits and perks to their candidates to win them over. At the same time, more companies are looking at recruiting team members with different backgrounds to boast diversity and creativity.
So, you can find many more jobs today than you would have in the past!
You Can Follow Your Passion
As a newly graduated professional, the most important aspect is to find a high-paying or rewarding job.
In this life stage, it is common to feel the financial and career pressure, and it is even more common to end up settling for a job that can help you pay the bills!
However, as an older professional looking for a job, your kids would have already left home, and you might have a more stable financial situation. In turn, this important factor gives you the chance to take your time and make a career choice that is not only aimed at increasing your incomes.
Additionally, the obstacles you face now might become a golden opportunity to find a job that finally reflects your expectations!
You Can Learn Something New
We all tend to consider our youth as the moment to learn and try new things. Instead, older adults are expected to have consolidated skills and abilities that are not likely to change.
However, today, a new trend is emerging: older adults are returning to college to learn something new and boost their careers! While you might not need to go back to school, you can take the job hunt ahead as an opportunity to expand your knowledge and add new abilities to your skillset.
You Can Rediscover Purpose
Somebody might have already entered retirement, while others are returning to the professional world after having pressed pause on their career many years ago. Whether you are a mom of grown-ups ready to resume your professional life or you have found that retirement is not for you, finding purpose in life is crucial.
And often, when we become too involved with our daily life and responsibility, we forget to dedicate time to activities that give us a sense of purpose. Starting a new job can allow you to take pride in a completed project, help your community, or provide a service to clients.
You Can Find a Job That Suits Your Preferences
If you have always found yourself working to pay the bills or to guarantee a comfortable lifestyle for your family, today, you have the chance to do something from which you can also benefit.
Indeed, now that you have the chance to pick the right job for you, make sure it fits your preferences in terms of schedules, timings, tasks, and work-life balance.
Consider Your Skills, Experience, and Interests
Now that you are ready to dedicate time and effort to search for the perfect job for your skills, it is time to consider what you can actually do. Undoubtedly, your past experiences would have left you with a unique skill set that many companies can consider extremely valuable.
However, it might not always be so easy to figure out what skills you can offer or the level of expertise you can provide your new employer. And, of course, it can be just as important to know how to sell those skills!
Below are some factors that can help you identify what you are offering and how to enhance it!
You Have Built a Unique Skill Set
Firstly, all adults, whether you have been at work or taken a break from it, can offer a unique skill set. This does not only refer to the ability to complete office tasks or offer a service.
Indeed, you might have been able to create a beautiful garden or specialized in a type of home cooking. Independently on what your preferences are, the activities that make you who you are as a person would have also helped you grow your skillset!
If you are not sure about what industry would be looking for what you can do, using platforms and services such as the Skills Matcher offered by Career OneStop can help you.
The Skills That Are Still Relevant
While you might have several abilities of which you are proud of, you will realize that not all of them are suitable for finding a rewarding job from both a financial and work-life balance point of view.
Especially if you have learned some skills during your time in your workplace or when you were at school, you will need to identify the ones that can still be considered relevant today. Indeed, due to technology, several jobs have become obsolete or saturated.
Depending on what you like to do, you might consider using your knowledge as a base to develop more relevant skills.
For example, if you studied computing jobs, today you might need to expand your knowledge by studying IT!
Your Professional and Educational Formation
Don’t underestimate your professional formation, even if you completed your studies several years ago! Indeed, while some information and techniques are not up to date, you can easily implement new notions by investing in a new course.
Identify Your Dream Job
With a list of your skills and interests in front of you, now it is time to identify a job that can make you happy in the long run. Modern jobs have characteristics that differ significantly from the past.
Recruiters and employers offer higher quality jobs, better pay, and unique perks. All this, while taking into consideration the importance of guaranteeing employees the work-life balance they deserve!
With so many opportunities in front of you, you can easily avoid settling for the first job that comes around. Rather, you should aim at finding the best position to fulfill your needs and preferences. Learn how below!
Find Work-Life Balance
A study conducted by Harvard Business School shows us that over 94% of professionals today work a 50-hour week. This might not seem too impressive to young professionals who are putting all of their efforts into crafting a well-paying career.
However, in the case of older people, there are other dynamics, pre-existing responsibilities, family matters, and consolidated routines can make a 50-hour week impossible to sustain. If you have ever been able to work so many hours, the chances are that your work-life balance and well-being was seriously affected by it.
But now, you are all in for a new job position, so you can pick one that can leave you enough time to dedicate to your kids or grandkids.
While you might still need to work more hours than you would like to, a position that fits your preferences will make it easier to sustain such an effort!
Consider Telecommuting Jobs
As highlighted in a 2005 article by Annette Schaffer, Ph.D. in economics and freelance journalist, commuting is one of the main causes of stress and low morale among employees. Spending time traveling to and from work can take a serious toll on your productivity and cause you not to like the job you have picked that much, after all.
Luckily, today, technology is on our side. In fact, you might decide to opt for a telecommuting job or virtual position that can help you cut out on commuting time.
While this strategy might not be able to help you work less, you can save the time necessary to travel to work and spend it with your family and friends instead!
Define the Perfect Work Environment for You
Not all professionals are happy to dedicate themselves to office life. Whether you prefer to live mostly outdoors or in contact with others, don’t underestimate the benefits that some alternative professions can offer.
For example, many older adults tend to apply for office jobs or PA professions when looking for a profession. However, for these jobs, you will need to work a certain amount of hours per week, and you are likely to spend most of your week in the office!
Instead, becoming a gardener, cook, volunteer, or social assistant can not only help you improve your finances but also give you an extra reason to love your job. Before applying, make sure you are clear on the perfect environment for your needs.
Identify the Interests You Have Developed in the Last Years
The moment in which you enter university, you are expected to have a clear idea of what career you will be dedicating yourself to until retirement. However, making such an important decision when you are in your teens might not deliver the results expected!
When you identify your likes and dislikes and know what topics interest you, you have increased chances of finding a job that truly suits your passions.
If you are not sure about what this might be, look into what hobbies and activities you have been enjoying in the past years!
Know Where to Find Jobs
The first question that comes to mind when you are starting your search is what resources you should be using to increase your chances of landing the perfect job. Depending on what type of position you are running for, several alternatives are worth considering.
Have a Look on Job Boards
Online job boards are potentially the most accessible way of viewing and applying for jobs. Thanks to the increasing number of job boards available, you are likely to find one that can help you sell your skills in the best way.
General boards, such as Indeed.com, are advantageous because of the sheer number of positions posted each day. You can also find jobs by country or region, which is an extremely beneficial feature if you are searching from your home.
However, depending on the industry in which you would like to work, there is a more specific board that you can use. These often display jobs posted by reputable employers, and they are filtered for you to get only the best offers.
You can find out more about some jobs available in your area by asking around. Of course, friends and family members are one of the main resources for this type of search. However, you could also opt to ask commercial buildings, stores, and companies in the area if they are looking for someone with your skills.
While this method can be a little more time consuming, you can leverage the advantage of meeting your potential future employer in person and make an impression!
This strategy is also particularly efficient if you are running for positions like nanny, gardener, housekeeper, or dog sitter. Indeed, clients are more likely to trust you if they get to know you in person before handing the job over to you!
Identify a Company You Would Like to Work for and Apply!
In some cases, you might just have an idea of the type of job you would like to do or the company for which you would like to work. In this case, you might consider applying for it directly—either on the company’s website or in person.
Update Your Resume
Arguably, creating an appealing, relevant resume is the most important task you will be taking on. Your resume is your business card, and, independently on your skills, it can open many opportunities in front of you.
While you might not have just graduated or had recent experience in the field, there are ways to sell your experience and skill that can help you land the job you want!
Highlight Your Experience
The science behind creating a bulletproof resume is extensive, and new researches on the psychology behind it are being published continuously. However, Smith College has created a simple but exhaustive set of guidelines you can follow to ensure yours meets today’s employer’s standards. And, more importantly, stands out from all others!
As reported, there are ten easy-to-follow rules you could consider when writing your resume. These are:
- Avoid templates.
- Use a combination of formats to display skills and experience.
- Use action verbs in the descriptions.
- Arrange your experiences in reverse order (so the most recent ones are displayed on top of the resume!)
- Be concise.
- Put an accent on certifications, rewards, and accomplishments.
- Modify it for each job application.
- Avoid words and acronyms that could make the writing unclear.
- Stick to one page—but focus on quality, not on quantity!
- Find out if the industry requires specific resume formats.
We know it might be intimidating for an older adult to prepare their resume, that’s why we’ve written this article to help you: CV Advice for Over 50s: 10 Actionable Tips.
Highlight the Benefits of Older Professionals
While there is no need to lie about dates, some tips can help you highlight the advantage of your experience rather than your age. Here are some:
- Firstly, omit some dates from your resume. These might be the ones of your graduation or certain qualifications. Your employer is likely to ask you about those during an interview, but at least you will get the chance to make an impression based on your skills!
- It is also good practice to avoid outdated or obsolete skills and job positions that you have covered earlier than 10-15 years ago.
- Being able to include a LinkedIn URL can help you gain points!
- Customize each resume for the job you are applying for. This can help create a focal point around your skills.
Update Your Skillset
If you have noticed that there are not many relevant or up-to-date skills on your resume that could help you land a job, you might consider investing in a course or training. This strategy won’t involve a steep learning curve, but it can help you make your skills relevant again, with just a few simple implementations.
Consider Online Courses
One of the easiest ways of updating your skills is to find an online course that suits your preference. For this, depending on your budget and availability, you will have two choices:
Online College Courses
These are fully-qualifying college courses that happen through online platforms and are offered by main universities such as Harvard, Yale, and many others. You can subscribe to one and complete it at your own pace. Among the main benefits of this choice are the substantial student’s community behind it and the professors’ support.
Online Training Courses
are less expensive or free training courses that you can access at any time through online portals. The most common platforms you should check are Skillshare, Udemy, Masterclass, and Coursera. Keep in mind that now all courses will give you the chance to earn a formal qualification.
Invest in a Certification
If you are unable to demonstrate your skills or experience, you might decide to invest in a formal certification that can make it easier to display your abilities and knowledge. Since these can require significant investment at first, you should be sure of the field or position you would like to work in before taking such a step.
Don’t Underestimate Internships
If your skills are up to date, but you are missing recent experience in the field, you might opt for applying for an internship. These might not always be paid or offer you enough perks to be a sustainable life choice.
However, if you are just starting out again, this choice allows you to gain valuable experience that can help you secure a better paying job when you are applying for it in the future.
Get More Confident With Technology
Whether you are already tech-savvy or not, it is undeniable that an increasing number of companies will require you to be comfortable with technology. However, if you are not an expert in the field yet, it can seem an intimidating field to tap in.
Luckily, a couple of tricks can help you make an excellent first impression with your potential future employer. Meanwhile, don’t forget to create a LinkedIn profile and add the URL on your resume!
Create an Online Presence
While you don’t need to be an expert on social media, it is essential to create a website that can showcase your skills, experience, and achievements. You don’t necessarily need to create the website yourself, especially as many affordable agencies can help you create a professional-looking profile for you.
However, deciding to invest in a website can also help you discover how WordPress and social media pages work, which is considered a valuable skill in today’s job market!
Learn About Digital Marketing and Opportunities
An increasing number of jobs and professionals are today conducted online. For some professions, you won’t even need to enter an office or get to know your employer in person!
However, to do so, having a basic knowledge of digital marketing and online businesses is essential. Especially if you have studied marketing in the past, you might consider making your skills relevant by entering the online marketplace!
Consider Becoming Your Own Boss
If you have tried to find a job, but the search has not given you the outcome you were looking for, you might decide to become a freelancer or entrepreneur. In both cases, understanding what your skills are is essential to be able to sell them in the best way.
Before making this life choice, you should consider that there are significant advantages and disadvantages to this lifestyle. While you might be able to work at your own pace and set your own routine, the incomes might not be regular.
Moreover, it can take a while for you to create a solid client base on which to rely on! Therefore, while profitable in the long run, this choice might not be suitable if you are looking for a job that can instantly improve your financial situation!
Instead, if you are fully on board with taking the risks that this lifestyle can come with, joining platforms such as UpWork, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour, and Freelancer can help you get started and perceive your first incomes.
Networking is among the most important aspects of finding a job in today’s marketplace. It can be done in person at events, fairs, conferences, or online through platforms like LinkedIn.
Networking can also mean getting in touch with your friends and asking if they know of any available position in the area. Especially for local jobs, this technique can help you land a job as clients will get to know you in person and can get recommendations from the acquaintances you have in common.
Of course, if you are looking for an online job, you might not be able to make this strategy alone work. So, signing up on online platforms and displaying your resume, skills, and experience can help you find leads.
Learn How to Pitch Your Experience
Once you have caught somebody’s interest, it is now time to showcase who you are and how much you can offer to the client and the company. Pitching your skills and ideas is an art that can take quite some time to master.
However, you will generally need to work on crafting a clear, convincing introduction of who you are as a person and as a professional. Then, you will need to convince the other person that you are indeed the addition of the company they had been looking for!
Once you grasp the basics, you will need to allow for trial and error while knowing that rejections are not uncommon. However, a pitch well done can land you the job of your dream in just a few sentences, so don’t disregard it!
Bottom Line – Stay Positive!
Deciding to change your career or find a job as an older person can be a challenging experience, especially if you are also juggling pre-existing responsibilities like being a mom or grandmother.
However, this can also be one of the most rewarding journeys you will embark on—and can give you the chance to find your dream job! Just make sure that your resume and skills are relevant and up to date for today’s market.
Don’t forget that even if the process can be discouraging at times, there have never been as many opportunities for older professionals as there are today!
- Forbes: Ten Reasons Successful People Change Jobs More Often
- Touro University Worldwide: The Manager’s Guide to Fostering Creativity in the Workplace
- Post University Blog: 7 Reasons Adult Learners Are Going Back to School
- Career One Stop: Skills Matcher
- Harvard Business Review: Making Time Off Predictable—and Required
- Scientific American Mind: Commuting Takes Its Toll
- Indeed.com: Home Page
- Smith College: Writing Your Resume: Home Page
- Skillshare: Home Page
- Udemy: Home Page
- Masterclass: Home Page
- Coursera: Home Page
- UpWork: Home Page
- Fiverr: Home Page
- PeoplePerHour: Home Page
- Freelancer: Home Page
- Carnegie Mellon University: Elevator Pitch