How to Change Careers at 50: Top 13 Ideas to Make it a Success

By | September 18, 2016
career change at 50

You can successfully change your career at 50 by taking the right steps.

How to Change Careers at 50: Top 13 Ideas to Make it a Success

Career change may be possible for younger workers, but those at the age of 50 may not find it easy to do so, therefore, they may decide to stick to their current career until retirement.

Some people wrongly believe that after a certain age it will be too late to contemplate a career change. However, people at 50 may still have many years to work before retirement.

Why would you want a new career in your 50s?

What people who desire to change careers at the age of 50 usually give as reason is that they are tired of their work routine, payment, and the stressful environment where they work. They now desire a change of career no matter their age.

Other reasons that they give include to learn something new and to follow their passion.

Working with passion gives more satisfaction than working for money; people who want to change their careers at 50 generally desire a more conducive job.

If you are in your 50s and are thinking of changing your career, here are some of the best ideas that you can use to make it a success:

1. Entrepreneurship: According to data from the Kauffman Foundation, the number of Americans who go into entrepreneurship falls between the ages of 50 and 65.

And the latest information from confirmed that people from 50 upwards are almost twice likely to found successful companies than those between 20 and 35 years.

Entrepreneurship can be most rewarding if you have chosen to operate your own business and find self-support through your own efforts.

2. Choose a career counselor: A career counselor may be needed when you are confused as to what career to change to in your 50s.

The counselor’s duty is to administer career assessment tests that match your personal interests and characteristics against various types of jobs.

There are talents hidden in you that might be required in your new career which you may not know now. With the help of the National Career Development Association, you can find a well-trained career counselor.

3. Take something that you love: Peter E. Rice at age 51 made a big career change after 25 years as a practicing surgeon.

He became frustrated working as a physician and decided to switch to the teaching aspect of practicing medicine, which was what he loved to do.

Peter later got a teaching degree from night studies and is now a high school science teacher in Brooklyn.

Peter advises, “You should not take something that you are good at and try and love it. You should take something you love and try and be good at it”

4. Start your career change part time: Tim and Nina Zagat were still corporate lawyers when they started printing their restaurant guides.

It was when the guide became popular that Tim left his job as a corporate counsel for Gulf & Western to manage the business.

In 1986, Tim was 51 when he changed from being a corporate lawyer to control a business based on his passion.

Nina joined him and in 2011, they sold Zagat to Google for $151 million.

5. Be flexible: You should be prepared at all times to adapt to any new change or system that could affect your career positively. Having the right attitude will not only give you enjoyment, but will also reward you immensely. Remember to create time for family and loved ones as this will bring you the happiness that you desire.

6. Take the decision: Taking the decision to change your career in your 50s is quite challenging and overwhelming. If you fail to look before you leap you will later come to realize how much thought you ought to have given to it before making the change.

If you insist on jumping on to a new career, you will also likely jump out soon, or leave with remorse for the rest of your working days.

Make sure that you have properly thought about the decision before taking a step towards your new career.

7. Look around your company for fresh challenges: Friedberg stated how people who want to change careers usually overlook the chance to stay with the same employer, but in a different role.

It was Friedberg’s suggestion to make in-house search first that made her client who was a bank executive yearning to quit his job so he could travel more, to move to a new position with the same bank.

Today, he is based in Hong Kong and is often on the road throughout Asia.

8. Develop interview skills: Being away from interviews for a long time can tense you up a bit at the mere mention of interview.

An interview practice can help, but instead of a friend interviewing you, it is preferable to go for a real job interview.

The job may not be your career job but something to practice with to keep you fit for the real interview on the job that you most desire, so you don’t screw it up.

According to Art Koff, founder of, which connects employers with older workers, “Every interview is a learning process”.

9. Consider all career options: Before changing your career at 50, you can take short courses, find part time work, work as a consultant, or start a business.

There are many career options available to you if you really want to make a change in what you are into.

Brainstorm on different industries and firms to know which one is your best choice. Analyze each career for proper knowledge of how profitable it can be, but make sure you have passion for it.

10. Networking: Consider getting in touch with old connections that you have. Let them know that you are in the process of changing your career. Get introduced to their connections too, ask questions, and try to fit into the competition.

You never know what great connections you might get along the line.

11. Be ready for the risks: Changing careers in your 50s involves a lot of risks that can cause some strong fears around you.

Fear may bring about discouragement, anxiety, and despair in the process of changing your career.

Don’t allow the fear of the unknown to affect your mind from being positive as you work towards effecting a switch in your career even in your 50s.

The risks are there for you to take and nothing can change it, seeing that it is part of the struggle for a new phase of your life.

12. Internship program: Joining an internship program is one of the best ideas for changing careers at 50.

Michael Gonzalez completed an unpaid internship at 52.

“You’ve got to put your ego away”, he says. Gonzalez spent 15 years running his family’s carpet business, and after a while he decided to go back to law firm he’d left for two decades.

He got help from Pace Law School’s New Directions Program and got a position as an extern, working 20 hours a week at KIND, a legal nonprofit that defends children in lower Manhattan.

13. Write out your career goals: Jack lost his job of 22 years in the shoe industry. Being 51 and coming from a dying industry, he prompted for a career change.

He wrote out his career goals out in order to make a perfect choice. He put the goals on index cards, which he placed on the screen of his car, check book, and in his pocket, to get him committed in realizing them.


Generally, employers are now suddenly rising to the advantages of having older workers with a bit of life experience on the workforce because of their reliability, tactics, punctuality, and emotional intelligence.

So, why shouldn’t you start your midlife career despite your age? Rise up and take a step and everything will get well later.

The best time to start a career transition is now, as delay could be devastating.

Did you find our career change ideas at 50s useful? Please leave your comment in the box below, including additional tips to successful make a change of career at 50 that you have found useful.