For those who are over fifty and are looking to start a new career, you need to consider exactly what you mean by “new”. Are you looking for a new job that allows you to use the same skills that you have used for many years? Or are you making a complete change to a different type of job that requires you to use new skills?
The majority of people within this age group are not going to leave their jobs after they have devoted many years to the same company, building up a retirement, extended paid time off, and what feels like job security while they have any choice. At this point in time, your co-workers have become your family and the office your home. There is usually too much risk involved when they are so close to the age where they will be able to retire.
What is usually behind a 50+ career change is a job loss. With an economy like we have today, there are many businesses having to cut the number of employees they work or are closing down completely. Although those with company seniority may not be as likely to lose their jobs during cutbacks, they are in the same boat as the younger workers when a company goes under.
Depending on the field you are working in, there may or may not be jobs at other companies that require the same skills. If there are, then your “new” career will be in a new company with new people and probably differences in procedures. If you are working in an industry that has been nearly eliminated by the economy, then you will have to start considering what your other skills are that will be useful in starting a different type of career.
If you will be applying for a job in a similar situation to the one where you have spent most of your working years, you will certainly have a resume that gives you the advantage over those who are just starting out. It is important to have a professionally written resume that reflects all of the skills that you have developed throughout your career, any awards or acknowledgments, and your contributions to the work for the company.
If you are going to be switching to a “new” career that requires a new set of skills, then you will need to have a resume that will list any and all qualifications you have for the position you are applying for. This doesn’t necessarily mean the skills you have developed through employment or education but also those that you acquired through volunteer work, hobbies, or personal experience.
There are also those who decide at 50+ that they are ready to quit their jobs and try something new on their own. This may be starting their own business or writing the great American novel that they have had in mind for most of their lives. With the popularity of creating a “bucket list” of things you want to do before you die, many people gather up the courage to go after their dream and accomplish the one thing that matters the most.