Blog article on how to rejuvenate your career when you're in your 50s

Feel like your career has stalled?…Suffering from burnout?…Not getting any satisfaction from your work?…Frankly not happy, but worried about how difficult it will be for you to make changes because of your age?

It may sound facile, but honestly, your career life can certainly begin at 40.

Let’s start at the very beginning…

When a new client comes to see me, I never enquire about their age. I ask them, ‘How many more years do you plan to work and at what level of intensity?

Ask yourself the same question and then start your change process by mapping your Ideal World. Analyse your personality preferences, skills and interests and favourite work environment. This information is available free of charge on the Net, (though personality preferences are best explored with a specialist career consultant). I call them simple, but telling exercises. 

Cold Hard Reality

The next step is for you to assess what is happening in your personal life – this might be as simple as the need to spend more time with an ageing parent or the desire to provide your children with an expensive education. Issues such as this clearly affect your next career move.

Once you have a better understanding of both your Ideal World and the current realities of your personal life, you are able to look at your options with more clarity.

Do you need to quit your job?

Most people think that they have only one choice if they are no longer satisfied by their job – and that is to quit. This is far from the truth. At any one time, we have several options and only one is to leave our place of work.

Unless your dissatisfaction is with your employer rather than the role itself, it makes sense to learn how to fossick around for other opportunities right where you are. The grass isn’t always greener…

#STAY Tips

If you decide to stay put, do your own restructure so that your current employer better matches your needs.

  • Imagine you have just won your current job and to take a ‘new broom’ to it. What changes would you make in the way the job is currently being done? 
  • It’s easiest to tackle changes that don’t need the approval of others. For other changes that need the cooperation of your boss, develop an action plan. For example, if you want to learn a new skill, you are more likely to win approval if you can identify a strategic linkage between the new skill and your current job responsibilities.
  • What can you do if you aren’t sure of what changes to make to the job? Seek out one of the best sources of information: people. Tap into the knowledge and advice of fellow work mates and even expand your network of internal contacts to explore possibilities. 
  • Go to your manager with clear ideas and a pathway. Present solutions, not problems.

#GO Tips

If you decide to make a career move outside of your organisation, it’s time to develop a dynamic Job Search campaign. 

Many of our clients are surprised to discover that there are only four ways to get a job. The most effective of all is Networking –roughly 65% of people find a job this way. The three other methods are: registering with Recruitment Agencies, approaching prospective employers via Cold Calls and responding to Job Advertisements.

Wow Them all the Way

No matter which strategy you use, your job is to ‘Wow’ the prospective employer. 

  • Paint a clear picture of how well you match the key attributes of the role in your Cover Letter. And, convince the reader that you are passionately interested in the role.
  • Shift the balance of power to you with an attractive résumé. Write convincing content so that the employer thinks – ‘Wow, can’t wait to meet this one!’
  • Practise, practise, practise your interview skills. All too often, it is the slickest performer rather than the best applicant who wins the role. Find someone to rehearse with, to check that your delivery style is appealing and that your content is convincing. 
  • Master salary negotiation. You often have considerable power to achieve the combination of salary and benefits you need. Know what the market rates are, know what you are worth and have the confidence and skill to negotiate. 

 A clever employer assesses all applicants with the following thoughts in mind:

  • CAN they do the job? 
  • WILL they do the job and, most importantly,
  • Will they FIT in? 

 Your aim is that the employer says ‘Yes’ to all three. You want her to start to worry: ‘Wow, can’t wait for him to start! Is he going to accept our offer?

 Career Dental Flossing

Structured and strategic career thinking is a bit like dental flossing. We all know we should do it, but sometimes, it just doesn’t happen.

 Because I care so much about my physical health, I’ve internalised exercise as part of my life such that I could not imagine leading a slothful life. If you care about your career health, do your career ‘flossing’. Try one or more of the following options:

  • Incorporate a 3 monthly review of your Goals and Action Plans
  • Read high quality career blogs/infographics
  • Meet with a group of like minded people
  • Schedule a 6-monthly appointment with a career specialist

And don’t let worries about your age get in the way. When it comes to a successful career transition, age is nowhere near as important as other issues. For example:

  • Do you convey high levels of energy and enthusiasm to a prospective employer? 
  • Have you kept up to date with modern workplace thinking and behaviour? 
  • Are you prepared to put time and effort into achieving your dream job?

Imagine the (almost certainly bad) effect on you of working for another fifteen or twenty years when you are not happy.

Don’t do it.

Take on board the advice that Macbeth received… 

‘Be bloody, bold and resolute.’

Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here. You’ll be the first to hear about our updates once a fortnight!