Modern society is ageist. There's an unfortunate societal belief that the young get to experiment while older people should stick to what they know. That can make it hard to switch careers later in life. Still, it’s hardly impossible, particularly as people are becoming aware of this discrimination. Still, there is a raised bar when making a career change later in life — which means you may need to take some extra steps to succeed.
Whether you or someone you know are considering a career change, it is never too late to chase after your ambitions. Here are some tips to help you change your direction and make your career change a success.
1. Watch what personal information you include in your resume.
Many employers might see a career change later in life as the result of previous failures in your employment history. They should judge you based on your skills, not based on the age at which you're switching careers.
Your age, picture and graduation date might make an employer turn your application away simply because you are older than they expected. Keeping such information off your resume will help you have a better chance of booking an interview.
2. Rank your experience according to importance, not chronology.
At a later stage in your career, it is only normal for you to have gathered a lot of diverse working experience. And this wide-range of experience will come in handy. Veronica Wright, the CEO of Resumes Centre, notes: “experience in other fields of work will help you have more chances of making your career change a big success”.
However, chronological ordering may not work in your favor and could potentially make an employer turn your application down simply because of your age. By ordering qualifications based on their importance and relation to your new career path rather than by chronology, you are indirectly helping your future employers focus on the right ones.
3. Proudly include your technological skills.
There is this general idea that older people don’t understand technology. If you can prove this stereotype wrong, you can force people to evaluate you by your skill rather than by your age. Proudly include technological skills and qualifications on your resume. If you need more, try taking online courses on media and technology, or watching YouTube videos to learn certain skills. At the end of the day, it is not a bad thing to ask the younger people in your family for help if you come across any issue or have any questions. After you get the hang of it, you will come to see many computer programs are a lot easier to learn than you expected.
4. Research the company.
There are some companies out there that simply prefer hiring younger people for entry-level roles; maybe they have a college recruiting program they heavily rely on, or an ageist company culture. Applying to these organizations might be harder (and it might be tough working primarily with people half your age). Checking the company and its policies before you apply is a good idea in order to avoid such issues. Madeleine Whitley, a career advisor at Resumes.Expert clarifies: “companies who are looking for a broader spectrum of employees will be a lot more accepting of a late career change. These are also the ones who will help you achieve your goals with more ease and take someone’s past experience into account."