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Career Change at 50: A Guide to Starting Afresh

Gone are the days where people work in one industry, for one employer, for their entire working career. Many people change their career path several times throughout their life. So, if you’re asking yourself, can I have a career change at 50? The answer is… Absolutely.

If you need more reassurance or proof that its possible, have a read of atWork Australia’s client, Glen’s story. At 59 years old, having spent his working career as a Panel Beater, Glen changed his career to better suit his health condition.


Why You Might be Seeking a Career Change


There could be many reasons why you find yourself wanting to change careers at 50. For example, you could have spent the past twenty-five plus years working in the same industry, and to be blunt, you might ask yourself, why am I even working in this job? You simply might have had enough of the same routine and want to spend the remainder of your working years doing something different. Maybe even something you enjoy or are more passionate about, which might require you to develop new skills.

Sometimes a career change might be “forced” on you. Your organisation could move in a different direction or needs to provide redundancies. Suddenly, your left scratching your head, wondering what the next phase of life will look like.

You may also develop a health condition or acquire a disability. Which means you may need to consider a career change. If you find yourself in this situation where you’re needing to change careers, it’s important to remember you’re not alone and there is help available. atWork Australia specialise in helping people over 50 to successfully pursue new careers.


Preparing for the Transition


As it goes for any big change in life or when taking on a new challenge, it is no secret what the key to being successful is, preparation. If your changing careers at 50, there is a high possibility there has been a significant amount of time since you have looked for work, applied for a new job, been to an interview or even refreshed your resume. The way things are done are likely to have changed.

As a starting point, its important to overhaul your resume to reflect your most recent work experience, relevant skills, and qualifications. Here are a few tips for overhauling your resume:

Our five key tips for giving your resume a makeover:

  1. Emphasise relevant experience: Tailor your resume to highlight recent and relevant work experiences. Focus on accomplishments, showcasing how your skills have evolved over time
  2. Modernise your format: Update your resume’s format to a clean and contemporary design. You can find templates in Word and Google Pages. Use legible fonts and concise, bullet-pointed descriptions. Avoid excessive details about early career roles
  3. Include key skills: Showcase your ability by listing current skills, especially those related to technology or industry-specific tools. This demonstrates your ability to stay current
  4. Quantify achievements: Use quantifiable metrics to illustrate your impact in previous roles. Numbers and percentages can make your accomplishments more compelling; and
  5. Professional summary: Write a concise professional summary at the beginning of your resume. Highlight your skills, passion, and commitment to your field, positioning yourself as an asset

Now you have a fresh and modern resume, you might want to turn your attention to searching and applying for positions. And, like most things, it’s all done online. Jobs are advertised through various job searching platforms and applicants are required to upload a resume and cover letter. So, to be successful in your career change, you need to be able to operate in the digital world. However, there is no need to panic. If you’re reading this and start thinking, oh well, that counts me out. It does not. atWork Australia can support mature age people looking for work through the entire process. We can even provide training to get your digital literacy up to speed. Read here how atWork Australia can support you to upgrade your digital skills.

Finally, how long has it been since your last interview? Can you confidently communicate how your skills can be transferable and relate to other industries? This can be tricky, you could have an extensive list of skills and experience, but if you can’t confidently communicate these strengths to an employer and highlight your value it can make for a challenging time.  Therefore, you need to put some thought and effort into how you want to come across and sell yourself in an interview. Practicing mock interviews and developing strong responses to the standard interview questions is a great place to start. Again, this isn’t something you have to do alone. atWork Australia can support you throughout every stage of the employment journey.


Navigating Ageism


Overcoming ageism during job search requires a proactive approach. Start by showcasing your skills, accomplishments, and adaptability on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Emphasise relevant, recent experience and highlight your ability to learn and grow; this doesn’t necessarily have to be employment related, consider your transferrable skills and life experience. During interviews, focus on your enthusiasm, problem-solving skills, and cultural fit within the organisation.

Networking is key; connect with professionals across generations, attend industry events, and seek mentorship opportunities. You could also consider retraining or upskilling to demonstrate your commitment to staying current.

atWork Australia has connections to employers who are inclusive and looking to employ a diverse team, so we can help you find the right employer for you.

Practical Steps for a Successful Career Switch


Here are a couple of thoughts to keep in mind when planning your career change:


  • Determine the lifestyle and goals you are hoping to achieve at your age
  • Research the job market, identify industries where you can apply your skill set
  • Research expected salaries/pay, you might have to be flexible if you’re starting in a new industry
  • Listing skills. Have a good understanding of your skills and how they can transfer to other industries
  • Seeking support for a career change. atWork Australia are experts at supporting mature age workers find new careers
  • Gaining new qualifications looks great on you resume and shows employers you are still motivated to learn new skills
  • Rebrand yourself. When reviewing applications, LinkedIn is a common platform employers will use to investigate candidates. Make sure all your social media platforms accurately reflect your skills and don’t include any information you wouldn’t want a future employer to know
  • Try testing the waters, it’s time to throw your hat in the ring and start applying for jobs. Remember, it won’t happen overnight. Be patient, keep putting yourself forward and learn from each opportunity.

Success Stories

It can be very daunting starting a new career at 50. Sometimes, seeing how others have done it can provide the motivation we need to take that leap.  Here is a few examples of how atWork Australia have successfully supported mature age people to change careers.

Brenden is taking positive steps on his employment journey


Michael finds work that is meaningful to him


Stephen was eager to work, he just needed the right opportunity



The most important message to take away from reading this blog is, changing careers at 50 is certainly possible. atWork Australia have a proven track record of successfully supporting mature age workers to pursue new careers. So, if you’re looking for that exciting change, have a desire to try something new or want to spend your final years in the workplace learning new skills, reach out to atWork Australia today to find out how they can support you on your employment journey.

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