Relaunching Your Career After 50

At a time when many of the 50+ demographic would have been looking toward retirement, the recently ended economic downturn has made it necessary for some to work further into their later years than originally anticipated.  While companies may be pleased to discover that they won’t have to be placing as many help-wanted ads, you may not be looking forward to another 10-15 years spent in your current employment situation.  Maybe a shift in profession was something you had put off for many years, yet realizing you will now be there longer than initially projected has you feeling as though a change is requisite.

Relaunching After 50 - older business man holding glasses


Maybe you selected your profession before you truly understood what you were interested in, or even the consequences of your choice.  Nowadays, it’s anticipated that most people under 50 will change jobs every three or four years, while the older group is more inclined to remain with a single organization for their whole working career.

The problem is that there is a bewildering array of possibilities out there.  You could certainly stay where you are, if you enjoy it.  You could switch to a different department within the same company to explore options that intrigue you.  You may even consider starting a brand new company, leveraging years of accumulated experience.

You have probably built up a remarkable network of contacts over the years.  Perhaps you local symphony, museum of art, national gallery, or opera house might love to have you as head of charitable fund raising.

Maybe there is a skill you’ve always wished to acquire, such as computer programming.  Going back to school and increasing your aptitude not only makes you more valuable, but the longer we live, the more dependent we are going to become on technology, so having a strong grasp of the fundamentals is a self-benefiting bonus as well.  Furthering education entails no age limit, and happens to also be a fantastic option for the early retiree looking to re-enter the workforce.


Make a list of what you really enjoy, right next to a list of selections you never want to revisit, and use this to review your possibilities.  If you only want to work for another two or three years you can probably cope with being dissatisfied, but if you’re looking at another decade or two, you’re definitely going to need something that will sustain your interest, so don’t be hasty.

If you have decided you are ready to enter the job market, you may be certain that your years of experience will be an undeniable asset.  While this is true on many levels, relying on this factor may also draw more attention to your age and stage in life.  It’s best to make as little reference to your age as possible, and the first way to do that is to shorten your resume.  It is not necessary to list every position you have held for the past 25 years.

Additionally, since many older members of the workforce are not known to be as technologically inclined as their younger counterparts, it’s important to highlight your fluency in this area.  Including your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume or mentioning information you gleaned on your company through their Facebook or Twitter feed are small ways to successfully indicate that you are savvy to the modern tech world.

Another option you may want to explore, is consulting.  This is frequently a wonderful choice for established workers, well-versed in their field and looking for a significant change of pace in later years.  Providing training or applicable insight to others in your line work can also prove quite lucrative.

It is important to remember that while you may feel as though you need to beat the odds as an older member of the job hunting world, you also possess contacts, networking abilities and skills that the younger generation simply hasn’t had the chance to attain.  This alone, should give any 50+ job seeker the confidence and hope that change is possible at this stage in their lives.

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The Takeaway

Outdated is the expression, “Too young to retire; too old to start over”.  Employers want skills, and skills are exactly what you have.  It’s important not to be overwhelmed by all the possibilities.  If you’re still employed and looking for a change, take your time and find something that really appeals to you.


By Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200