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10 Career Options for People 50 and Over

10 Career Options for People 50 and Over
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By Steve Nubie

Experience, maturity and a range of expertise make many people over 50 prime candidates for jobs and new careers.

Many of us who are 50 and over make the assumption that companies and organizations may not be interested in hiring us because of our age. That’s not always the case and the facts prove it. Many people with years of experience in a particular field or multiple fields are finding new opportunities in industries and companies that need the immediate value of experience and maturity. Here are 10 things to keep in mind if you’re over 50 and considering a career change or career continuation in the near future.

1. The Value of Experience and Maturity

Look for companies that need quick and effective decision-making and performance. These include startups; new entities that have emerged as a result of a merger or acquisition, and companies challenged by change or performance issues. It’s when a company or organization is confronted by the need to produce results quickly that a mature and seasoned professional can make a positive difference. To put it bluntly, sometimes they need an adult in the room.

2. You May Know More than You Think

Don’t think “re-invention,” think “repositioning.” Many people are intimidated by the thought of “re-inventing” themselves. It’s possible you may want to return to school for a new degree or certification, but it’s not necessary. What many of us forget is that we have varied and specific skills that we needed to perform our work in the past. Many people have excellent project management ability, auditing skills, creative abilities and other talents that were required for the daily performance of their jobs. Step back and think about all of the things you know and see if you can re-focus on one of those aspects to reposition yourself for a new or related career or job function.

3. Repackage Yourself as a Consultant or Expert

Many people 50 and over have more than 3 decades of experience in an industry or related fields. Over that period of time you’ve accumulated not only experience but insight, connections; knowledge of industry standards and practices, and have probably seen more than your fair share of projects and products. As an independent consultant or industry expert you can work-for-hire for many companies who need the advice and counsel of an expert for a new product launch, opening new outlets, and other necessary changes and challenges that every enterprise confronts.

4. Is Now the Time for Part-time?

Depending on your financial situation and your need for benefits, you might be able to consider a part-time position at a company. An upside to the Affordable Care Act is that it will allow many Americans over the age of 50 affordable health care at a time when they may need it most. If you can find your own health care plan that makes sense for you, you may want to consider slowing down a bit and pursuing part-time work. Statistically part-time positions are increasing. and your experience and qualifications will give you a definite advantage as a potential candidate for the job. It’s just a question of whether or not you can afford that approach.

5. Your Network as Your Greatest Strength

What’s true for every person who has worked in an industry for decades is the size and value of your network of connections you have developed over time. These people may be your most valuable resource for a new career. Many of them already know you and your abilities and can quickly assess a good match between you and a position or opportunity. The key is to let your network know you are actively looking and what you are looking for. This requires some caution if you are currently employed full-time, but if you’re not employed you can quickly assemble a trusted team of “job-agents” who may surprise you with a job opening they either hear about, recommend or come across.

6. Follow That Dream You’ve Always Had

We all have our interests and our passions. Maybe it’s time to find a job or position that reflects that emotional connection we have to an activity or area. If you love working with children how can you find an occupation that makes that a regular part of your day? If you’re an accountant and animal lover think about an accounting position at the local zoo. Companies and organizations will often look very closely at someone who can both demonstrate and prove a passionate connection to their endeavors. There are actually websites that will ask you about your passions and suggest occupations that align with those interests.

7. Start Your Own Company

Be careful with this one, but entrepreneurship has proven to be both rewarding and satisfying for many people. Better yet, an ecommerce enterprise can be much simpler and less risk in the startup phase than a brick and mortar location. Make sure you do a business plan before investing any significant time or money and as above, try to find a business-model; product or service that connects to one of your passions. Running your own business is a lot of work and it helps if it’s related to something you really enjoy doing.

8.  Look at Companies Who Target Customers the Same Age as You

Suffice if to say, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have a room full of twenty-something’s selling products to a customer base that’s 50+. Companies and organizations that have a mature target audience need people who can relate to that kind of customer through relevant and shared experiences. These companies will see your age as a job requirement rather than a potential limitation and will value the relevance of your insight and experience. Think in terms of wireless mobile phones such as the Cricket, Travel and Tours and other industries and products that uniquely appeal to you and your friends.

9. Look at Occupations and Industries that Value 50+ Employees

There have been many articles and websites dedicated to occupations that have emerged as both relevant and promising for people who are 50+. Some of these include:

  • Patient Representative
  • Non-Profit Executive
  • Financial Advisor
  • Religious Celebrant or Leader
  • Teacher at a Trade School or Community College
  • Career Coach
  • Assisted Living Professional

Many of these occupations reflect the attributes and values we’ve identified from target audiences who are 50+, to products and services relevant to a more mature market.

They also reflect the value of experience and the insights that a seasoned professional can share.

10. Have a Plan

As we’ve all learned, a plan is important for any venture including your career. Some of the steps are fairly obvious.

  1. Do a financial assessment to evaluate the salary you need or don’t need to follow a specific career path.
  2. Accurately assess your ability to perform for any particular position or industry. You want to like your new career direction, not regret it.
  3. Keep your passions and interests in mind. We’re all at that point where we’d like to pursue what we want to do. You’ve earned that.

The key for any job search or career pursuit is patience and persistence. Do your homework, have a plan, leverage your network and stay true to your passions. If you stick with it you can find that next step and possibly a new career.


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