4 steps to a successful career change later in life

career change later in life

In the article below featured in DARE Careers magazine, Sydney career coach Tina Monk outlines her 4 steps to a successful career switch later in life.

Article by Joanna Webber, DARE Careers magazine. 

Changing career goals at 50+ can lead to a new life purpose that’s rewarding and meaningful and a lot less stressful.

Finding a new career path later in life might seem daunting, but whether by choice or necessity, more senior Australians are putting off retiring and opting to stay in the workforce.

Forget a job for life. Today, it’s considered commonplace to have a portfolio of jobs and at least a couple of career changes. While some older workers remain in their field of expertise as a consultant or freelancer, others embark on a whole new direction in life.

“Qualifications are important, but so is life experience and independent learning,” says careers advisor Tina Monk from Sydney Career Coaching. “You don’t have to be a journalist to write a blog and you don’t have to train in IT to build a website. More often than not, it’s our fear of failure that holds us back.”

As people live longer, ageing is being redefined. “Older workers often have more skills, time, and money to contribute to the economy than younger people,” says Tina. “This experience is key to their success. You can make a successful career change, no matter what your age.”

Tina’s 4 steps to a successful career switch

1. Honestly assess your current career

If you’re contemplating a career change, you need to ask yourself what is prompting the urge. Is it the work itself you don’t enjoy? Does your workplace or industry no longer suit you? Do you want a better salary or work life balance?

Do you need more flexibility, or are you just bored after having done the same thing for so long? List everything you like about your current career as well as the things you want to change.

2. Be clear about your goals

Do an honest self-assessment of your values, interests, personality, and skills, then ask yourself what kinds of jobs align with these. If you’re a keen cook, you might look at cooking-related jobs that don’t necessarily involve becoming a chef. If you’re attracted to the caring economy, you might consider working with children, the elderly, or people with disabilities.

Ask what motivates you? Imagine what your ideal workday would look and feel like. What kind of company do you want to work for? It may be that you want to be one of Australia’s new wave of ‘seniorpreneurs’ – experienced, driven business owners aged between 55 and 64 who head up around 34% of Australian firms and are the fastest growing segment of entrepreneurs in the country according to Swinburne University research.

3. Do your research

Once you know your preferred next career options, talk to as many people as possible who have experience in these fields. Find out if you need to upskill, and if so, where can you acquire the necessary new skills. Research opportunities on job search websites to get a better idea of what’s available. The job search process can be challenging at any age, but don’t let that deter you. You have many years of expertise to offer and probably a lot of transferable skills.

4. Rebrand your image

Once you have completed any training required, it’s time to get your resume and LinkedIn profile updated to reflect the ‘new you’. In Australia, an estimated 60 to 80% of job roles are obtained through networking so build up your networks, particularly through LinkedIn as this is where a lot of hiring managers look for employees. Tailor your resume to your new role and upload it on job search websites. I advise not going back more than ten years on your resume and using one of the many free templates available online.

Career change case study

“I was the oldest person in my course”

With a diploma in horticulture and a graduate diploma in Islamic studies, Leonora Brown juggled a number of jobs while raising her three children as a single mother. “I cleaned people’s houses, taught aerobics, I did a lot of different things to put food on the table,” says the now 77-year-old grandmother.

In 2009 Leonora’s mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration and dementia, and for the next 12 years, she became her fulltime, live-in carer. The skills she learned turned out to be invaluable.

Then, when her mother passed away in 2021, Leonora enrolled in a Certificate 111 course in community services in Goulburn TAFE. She was 74. “I was the oldest person in my course, but we had a very supportive teacher, and I didn’t really think about my age” she says. “I didn’t see it as something that would prevent me from doing what I wanted.”

Leonora now offers residential care as a community support worker between Canberra and Goulburn three days a week. “Some of my clients are younger than I am, but I don’t think age has anything to do with it,” she says.

“The work is quite diverse and very rewarding. Some clients need help with personal care, such as showering and dressing. Others need social support. I take them to appointments. I might cook for them or maybe we just sit down with a cup of tea and chat. I find they are always very pleased to see me at their door. For some of them, I am the only person they see all week.”

Get in Touch

Tina Monk
Sydney Career Coach

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Take advantage of our complimentary coaching introduction to determine whether coaching is for you.  We provide coaching advice throughout Australia remotely via Skype and Zoom, over the telephone and in person at Neutral Bay on Sydney’s North Shore.

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Tina Monk, Sydney Career Coach

Sydney career coach and job advisor, Tina Monk’s education and professional development have focused mostly on how to understand people and bring out the best in them. Tina has been coaching for 20 years and continues to develop as a coach. Her approach is said to be caring with a bit of  ‘tough love’ thrown in!  Call or text Tina directly at 0413 000 010.

During these challenging times, we don’t need more fear, we need more hope and support.  If you are afraid of losing your job or have lost it, Tina can help you to future-proof your career or help with your job search.  She can work with you remotely and is offering discounts on her fees during this time.