Careers: Switching Jobs After 50

Making the decision to leave a job or to switch careers entirely is rarely easy. It’s even harder when you’ve been with the same company for over 25 years and you are over 50.

After working for a public utilities company as an executive assistant, Lorraine* (not her real name) decided she needed a change. Sleepless nights, high blood pressure and overall stress just weren’t worth it anymore.

“After talking it over with my husband and coming up with a plan, we realized there are much more important things in life than money,” she says. “I knew I had to do something about it.”

Lorraine had made many friends and business partners over the years, so she knew leaving wasn’t going to be easy. Still, the following day, she handed in her resignation and took early retirement. After many sad goodbyes, she hoped she was on her way to a healthier, happier life.

After taking a few months off, she realized that at age 55, she wasn’t quite ready to leave the working world behind. She and her husband were empty-nesters with two working, full-grown daughters and she wanted to find something to keep her busy, and that sparked her interest.

“I figured at this point in my life, I could stand to be a little picky,” Lorraine says.

Fortunately for her, earning money wasn’t an immediate problem. Her husband, as the GM of sales for a trades company, was still earning an income. They knew they would be ok for a little while, money wise, until she found something she really enjoyed doing.

“A lot of people don’t have this option,” she says. “Luckily I have a wonderful husband and two daughters that supported me 100 per cent through everything.”

It was then she discovered a posting in a local newspaper for a job within an organization that their family had been heavily involved in for over 15 years. And she decided to go for it.

Undertaking the job search

This was one of the hardest parts for Lorraine. Having not written a cover letter, or resume for many years, she called upon the skills she’d learned in the workplace to put together a thorough list of her skills as well as a convincing cover letter.

About a week after submitting her resume, she was called for an interview.

“I’m used to being on the other side of the table during this process, I didn’t really know what it would feel like do be the one competing for a job,” she says. “It’s also a lot harder when you are over 50 and the people who are interviewing you are in their mid-to-late twenties.”

One of the main things Lorraine says to remember when going to an interview is to just be yourself. Don’t try to be something that you are not; relax, answer the questions honestly and draw from your life experiences.

Happily, following the interview, Lorraine was offered a sponsorship and fundraising position that same day. Her many years of planning community, large-scale charity events for her previous employer gave her the experience she needed to land this position.

“It’s very different than what I am used to, but that makes it that much more exciting.” she said “Don’t be afraid to make a change – it may not seem like it, but there are plenty of jobs out there.”

She recommends using local resources like a community newspaper or job boards at the grocery store. You never know who may be looking for someone to fill a position.

“Now is the time – just because you are over 50, doesn’t mean that you have to settle for something you are unhappy with,” she says. “Follow your true passion.”

For more tips on putting together a resume, go here: How to Write a Professional Resume – 2019 Guide