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How to Make a Career Change at 50 and Start Doing Something You Love

Looking to make a career change at 50? It may seem like a daunting decision to make but it’s never too late to make the change over to your dream career. With a few decades left in your working life, now is the perfect time to make the switch and do something you really want to do. We should know, as a graphic design bootcamp we have been helping people of all ages change careers for the better since 1997—and you can be one of them too.

Is it okay to make a career change at 50? 

Making a career change at 50 is not only okay, but it’s an amazing thing to do. The last few years have changed the way we work and now is a great time to make a change. You’ve been working in a certain job or industry for all this time so it’s about time to get a job that you truly love!

Though, career changes at 50 don’t always come around because you’re stuck in rut and ready for a change, sometimes you may find yourself out of work involuntarily—through redundancies, layoffs or the like. Obviously this is not a situation that anyone wants to find themselves in, but see it as an opportunity, again, to do something you truly love. 

There’s no time like the present—if you’re already thinking about a career change at 50 then you’re halfway there, it’s just about taking the jump and doing it.

What if I don’t have a degree?

You would think when making a career change at 50 that you’re going to need a degree in the industry you’re going into. But, let us tell you, you don’t! The attitude towards degrees in many industries has changed nowadays. Obviously we’re not talking about brain surgeons here, but the creative industries especially may now look favorably at applicants from different backgrounds. 

Though, traditional degrees are now not the only way to learn what you need for a new career. Bootcamps are now an amazing way to learn everything you need to know for a career change at 50—in much less time. How do we know this? As the Original Graphic Design Bootcamp, Shillington has been training graphic designers since 1997. Our graphic design course—available on campus in New York, London, Sydney and Melbourne or online—equips you with everything you need to know to become a graphic designer in three months full-time or nine months part-time. Our course is perfect for those wanting to make a creative career change at 50 with no degree, 

So, not having a degree is no boundary to a career change at 50. 

Advantages of a Career Change at 50

There’s some incredible advantages to changing career at 50, we’re going to take you through some of the most important ones:

1. Get Your Dream Job

The main advantage of changing your career at 50 is that you’ll get to work in your dream job! You may have been working in one industry or another for however many years but a career change at 50 is the perfect time to start working where you actually want to work. You’re only 50—so you still have between 10 and 20 years until retirement, which is plenty of time to change and thrive in a new career. 

2. A Fresh Start

A career change at 50 is a breath of fresh air. If you’re feeling burnt out or stuck in a rut at your current job, a career change is the ideal way to try new things and start afresh—and people will be pleasantly surprised that you’ve chosen to do so at your age.

3. Mental Health Benefits

Leaving an old career behind and making a career change at 50 can do wonders for your mental health. Doing a job that you love can reduce anxiety and stress levels and make you excited to go to work again—something that is never discussed enough when talking about work. 

4. Continue to Learn

A career change at 50 with no degree also brings with some very exciting learning opportunities. Not only will you have to learn the tricks of the trade through a bootcamp, like Shillington’s graphic design course, but you will also continue to learn from new colleagues and clients as you embark on your new career. 

5. A Creative Life

Creativity is such an important part of life and should be embraced at every chance you get, especially as you get older. A creative career change at 50 can help to scratch that creative itch you’ve always had whilst providing you with a fruitful career.

Disadvantages of a Career Change at 50

With the advantages of anything, there also comes certain disadvantages. Here’s some potential obstacles you might experience in your career change at 50. We’re not trying to put you off, of course, we just want you to be aware.

1. Potential Pay Cut

One drawback of a career change at 50 could be a difference in the amount you get paid at your new job compared to your old one. Though, not only could you soon be earning the same amount again, you have to think about whether job satisfaction is more important than salary. 

2. Ageism

Unfortunately if you make a career change at 50, you could face ageism or age discrimination in the workplace. Ageism, discrimination on the basis of age, is a socially constructed way of thinking about older persons based on negative attitudes and stereotypes about aging. Despite this, hopefully the new job you have chosen will be in an open, fair workplace or industry so you won’t be subject to ageism.  

3. Overqualification

Again if you work in an open, fair workplace, this shouldn’t be applicable to you but, as you have already been working for around 30 years there’s a chance employers may see you as being overqualified for a role, especially a junior or entry level position. Though, on the flip side, there is also a chance that employers may see your previous experience as a positive—with your existing skills making you an even better employee. 

Our Best Tips to Change your Career at 50

Now you know the wins and potential pitfalls of a career change at 50, we thought we’d share some of our top tips for a successful switch. 

1. Determine Your Dream Job

If you’re going to make a career change at 50, then you want to make sure you’re making the right decision and choosing the right career for you—you won’t want to be making another career change in 5/10 years’ time.

Determining your dream job isn’t a complicated science, though. It’s just about doing the research into a field you’re interested in and, if you’re still into it after that research, then that could be the future job for you. Time to take the step.

2. Learn What You Need to Know

As we’ve already said, a career change at 50 might require you to learn some new knowledge but this doesn’t always require you to go back to college. There are lots of bootcamps and vocational schools that will be able to help you gain the necessary skills and knowledge you’ll need for your career change at 50 with no degree.

If you’re looking for a career change to graphic designer or any related creative career change at 50, then Shillington’s graphic design course is the best bet for you. Our dedicated teachers will guide you through everything you need to know for a career in graphic design in three months full-time or nine months part-time—so you can start your career change before you’ve even left your old job. 

3. Sharpen Up Your Portfolio and Resume

For a career change at 50 into graphic design or a related creative industry, you’ll need a portfolio of your work that you’ll use to apply for jobs. A graphic design portfolio is a document of what you can do and the projects you’ve worked on. Don’t have a portfolio yet? Shillington can help you with that, all our graphic design graduates leave the course with a polish, professional portfolio.

With any career change—creative or not—you’ll also need to make sure your resume is up to date. Make sure it shows any courses or bootcamps you have taken in your career change journey. Also, make sure that you tailor your previous experience so your resume shows how the skills and practice you’ve gained over the years could help you in your new career and put you ahead of your competition.

4. Apply for the Right Job 

This may seem obvious but once you’re all ready to apply for jobs, assure that you’re applying for the right job for you. When making any career change at 50, once you start applying you might just want to apply for every single opening you see. But, to really nail your career change, you should carefully consider the jobs you actually want to apply for.

Do your research on the company and the role within it you’re applying for. Does it seem like a place you want to work? Do the job responsibilities excite you? Ask yourself these questions and more just to make sure. You’re making a huge life decision so you want it to be the right one for you. 

5. Remain Patient and Positive

This brings us on to our last point: remain patient and positive. Your dream job is unlikely to just fall into your lap (and if it does, lucky you). Be patient with your career change at 50, make the right decisions, learn what you need to and, most importantly, take your time with it—as we said before, you don’t need to rush. That’s only going to lead to upset.

Also, keep positive! If it seems like it’s going to plan, that’s fine. Stick at it and keep chipping away and everything will come to fruition. It may take time, but once that career change at 50 happens, you’ll never look back.

Interested in making a career change at 50 to graphic design? Our graphic design course will teach you industry-relevant skills and help you kickstart your creative career in as little as three months.

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