Business, Career, Lifehacks

How To Successfully Change Careers As An Older Candidate

For most adults, the prospect of a career change is a scary one. Perhaps you went to college after high school and did a degree in something you found interesting, which lead to a job in a similar field – and now, ten years later, you are worried you’ve made a mistake. Or maybe you have simply gotten all you can out of the job you are in now, and want a new challenge. Many people are also changing careers in response to the state of the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the political upheavals and climate crisis pulling them towards a more humanitarian way of life. No matter what your reasons are, a career change is an option that more and more people are exploring – but that many still find too risky to pursue.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that life is short. Pursuing your dreams and creating a life that you love is absolutely vital. After all, you only live once. Do you really want to live a life that isn’t the best it can possibly be?

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Some of the fears and anxieties around changing careers include:

  • “How will I support myself during this career shift?”  This question is asked time and again, and it is a valid one. Starting at the bottom all over again is a big decision, financially speaking.
  • “What if I am unsuccessful – can I go back to my old job?” The question of security and failure is on everybody’s minds when considering a career change.
  • “Will it matter that I might be starting as an older person?” Age is a factor which stops people from pursuing a career change; they fear that they will be seen as past it, and won’t be given the same opportunities as their younger peers.
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Will my fears come to light?

So what about those pesky fears? The risk factor, the age fears and the ability to support your family? It is understandable to be cautious about a career change, particularly in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic sending unemployment through the roof. Here is some advice for each of these anxieties. 

  1. “How will I support my family through my career shift?”

Depending on the path you take to change your career, there are always ways to financially get through. It will be a tougher time without a steady salary, so it is important to make sure that this change is exactly what is right for you and the family at this time. If you feel that your family is already taking on a lot – such as having young children, recently becoming homeowners or taking care of elderly parents – it might be better to plan your career change for a few years down the line. That way you can save money, plan your life around the change, and make sure you are fully prepared.

  1. “What if I am unsuccessful – can I come back to my old job?”

The wonderful thing about having an experience is that no matter what happens in your life, nobody can take it away from you. Unlike money, possessions or fame, your life experience can never be taken from you. If you are experienced in your current career but are looking for a change, you will most likely be able to find employment in your current field again, in years to come. If you go down a new path and decide it isn’t for you, you can always revert back to what you know best. There is no shame in trying something new and it not working out.

  1. “Will it matter that I might be starting as an older person?”

Not only will it not matter that you are starting up as an older candidate, but it might actually benefit you. Studies show that interview candidates who have already done a different career or are starting out with more life experience are more attractive to employers. Your maturity and knowledge of the world of work is bound to give you a boost when it comes to job applications.

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Ways To Change Career

The big question remains: how can you change your career? There are multiple avenues to be explored, but when you are stuck on a seemingly inexorable career path, it is very hard to see how and with what tools you can leave your career and start afresh. Here are some ways to transfer career paths, and the pros and cons of each!

  1. Returning to university.

Returning to education after your career is a  big decision, but for many, it allows them to pursue their dreams in a constructive way. If you never went to college, or you did, but you are thinking of returning, here are some pros and cons of doing so:


  • A structured educational environment can help broaden your horizons, expand your way of thinking and get you out of the rut you were stuck in.
  • You will have an impressive qualification which will put you in a good position for entering a new field.
  • You can get to know like minded peers and form a social group who help each other on the road to success!


  • A four-year degree is expensive and time consuming. You will need significant financial and physical aid in place if you have a family or support people financially other than yourself.
  • You might feel alienated being surrounded by much younger individuals.
  • You will incur thousands in student debt.
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  1. An apprenticeship or internship.

If the career you wish to enter does not require a university degree, a more viable option might be an apprenticeship or internship at a reputable company.


  • Depending on the type of internship and the company, you may be able to earn a salary while training in your new career path.
  • Learning on the job, instead of in a classroom!
  • Meeting people in the industry with whom you can connect.


  • Many apprenticeships and internships are unpaid, making it difficult for those with a family or mortgage to apply and complete them.
  • Long hours are usually required in order to complete one of these courses. This could affect your home life.
  • Potential travel requirements mean spending more time away from home.
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Popular industries hiring in 2020

If you are bored of your current working life but aren’t sure which way to turn, there are many industries which have increased their hiring drive in the wake of the pandemic. Here are some industries to consider when looking for a new career path.

  1. Tech

The tech industry is expanding faster than anyone can keep up with. With new developments in technology happening every single day, there is a wealth of options when it comes to working in tech. The best thing about tech is that it applies to every single industry – whether it is the physical side of creating tech, such as a wire manufacturer; the data collection and monitoring side; or the tech development world. There’s so much to choose from, and new jobs being created daily.

  1. Pharmaceuticals. 

For obvious reasons, pharmaceutical companies are booming right now. If you have never considered a healthcare career or don’t fancy becoming a doctor, nurse or pharmacist, you can also explore a more behind-the-scenes role in pharmaceuticals. This includes becoming a sales rep, a developer or taking on an administrative position within the pharmaceutical world. Being at the heart of medicinal development is highly exciting and will put you at the forefront of changing our world for the better.

  1. Food Supply Chains

From grocery stores to factories and manufacturers, the need for food will never disappear. Food supply chains are working tirelessly to provide not only good quality produce, but also better delivery and safety options during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have always wanted to be a part of taking food from farm to plate, now is your chance. From an organizational role, to a hands-on farming role to a marketing job, there are many options to choose from in an industry that is currently booming!


If you have grown tired of the humdrum life and are desperate for a change of scene, the world is out there waiting for you. Starting again is a frightening prospect, but if it will serve your happiness and bring new challenges for you, then it is absolutely worth it. Start looking for a new role, training or university course now, and find your calling – no matter your age.

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