The Career Switch for 50+ Workers

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You’re heading toward the big 6-0, and you’ve decided for whatever reason that it’s time to make a career change. Maybe it’s burnout, or perhaps you’re one of the unlucky managers or VPs that have been outplaced. Either way, you’ve made the decision to make a lateral move into the healthcare field. Now comes the hard part—finding a job in this upside down economy. It won’t be easy at your age, but it can be done. Some suggestions to help you re-launch your new career:


Notch Up Your Networking

Start attending the seminars, conferences and trade shows in the specific healthcare industry you’re hoping to enter. Connect with people you meet. Let them know what you’ve done and what you want to do. Janet Scarborough Civitelli, Ph.D., of advises older job seekers to build on their experience. “Perhaps join the board of a professional association and then work to demonstrate your skills to the membership," says Civitelli. "Or seek a consulting or volunteer role that will afford the opportunity to achieve measurable results and will enable you to build relationships with a wider network of people.”


Avoid the Sit-and-Reply Syndrome

Sitting in front of your computer answering internet job postings and ads may increase your typing skills, but chances are, it won’t get you a job. The monster job boards are flooded with resumes. Besides, most good jobs aren’t advertised. Networking works.


Customize Your Resume

No two employers are alike. By the same token, no two of your resumes (or cover letters) should be exactly alike. So fine-tune these to the needs of the prospective employer. Do the research and legwork to find out about the company, its division, products/services and the specific needs of the job. Jettison any experience that does not apply, and build up what they need. Make sure any accomplishments you list are quantifiable—with numbers, percentages, etc.


Become Tech Savvy

In your previous position, you may have risen to the point where underlings did all your tech grunt work. You may be out of touch with the latest computer programs, the Internet and mobile technology. The jobs you’re applying for may plunge you smack dab in the middle of the tech world. So bring yourself up to speed. Take a course if you have to. Online courses abound on the web.


Don’t Procrastinate

The longer you're unemployed, the tougher it will be to land a new job. So start your job search ASAP. Some say you should start this process even while you’re working. “Shame on you if you’re not thinking every single year, ‘What’s my next step?’” says Pamela Mitchell, a career coach and author of The 10 Laws of Career Reinvention: Essential Survival Skills for Any Economy. “It’s magical thinking not to do this.”


Changing careers is never easy, and it can be a real challenge if you’re over 50, but following an aggressive and targeted strategy can help you re-launch your career.


Image courtesy of photostock/


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  • Carolyn L
    Carolyn L
    I am beginning to think that it is my age for not getting a new position.  I have been on interviews which I think go well, but no job so far. I used to work in enrollment for employees for their health benefits. I just finished going back to school and completed the certification exam so I know have CBCS credentials.I feel like I am drowning
  • Nancy M
    Nancy M
    It is a good article and has given me ideas of what to do, instead of sitting in front of the computer.  Especially since I am over 50 and seeking a career change.
  • Alex A. Kecskes
    Alex A. Kecskes
    Here's another resource for seniors looking for a career change:
  • Wayne R
    Wayne R
    Since I was let go from the company I was employed with,I have not been able to land a job,interview after interview resulted in the same,lost my house and savings.Relocated to Texas and it seems more of the same.I will be sixty two this year and now feeling at lost.Need  help.
  • Patricia W
    Patricia W
    I'm 55 and have been in nursing for 17 yrs.  Yes, I'm looking for something different.  I loved the article and would love more suggestions on a career change.
  • Alex Kecskes
    Alex Kecskes
    Sandra: Check out these resources:
  • Lelia C
    Lelia C
    This is helpful, locating me where I am.Thanks,Lelia
  • Sandra b
    Sandra b
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