CHANGING CAREERS AFTER 50

Everything you need to know to prepare for a new career in Digital Marketing

Table of Contents

Welcome to my guide on what to consider in a career change to Digital Marketing. If you are considering changing careers to Digital Marketing, as I was, my guess is that it's primarily so that you can have access to remote/hybrid work. Another reason might be to add relevance to your skills in your current position at your company. A ton of people are thinking the same thing! First, though, you probably need to conduct an honest self-assessment.



Continue reading, below, for areas I believe are worth investigating. There is no age limit for Digital Marketing. Consider the skills you already have, your interests, natural abilities, and tasks you genuinely like doing. These are your "transferable skills" that you bring to an interview; valuable for your future employment. Consider finances, preferred lifestyle, family situation, and if you have the appropriate home environment to make the change as easy as possible and set you up for success. Talk to friends who know you, so you can discuss the pros and cons of starting a new career, and see if they think this would be a good fit for you. And no, you are not too old to begin a new career in Digital Marketing! I did it, it took me about six months, and I'm loving it! 


After first considering and reviewing your natural skills and lifestyle preferences, you are ready to begin the journey to switch your career! 


Work life balance showing a photo of a time clock to clock into work, vs a white woman over 40 working at home in her home office with a laptop

Remote jobs are the new flexible and productive way to work

Remote Digital Marketing is IN. Every successful business now has to have some kind of Digital Marketing strategy to survive, and they need knowledgeable professionals to manage it. It's the perfect career to be able to enjoy the convenience and benefits of working remotely. And it's not just for young marketers. 


Career changers over 50 should consider this career option because it has a lot of flexibility and advantages. Managing the Digital Marketing for small business accounts can literally be done from anywhere! Freelance digital marketing as a career choice is growing. 


Empty-nesters, too, are looking for more freedom and choices in how to manage their time, how much to work, and where they want to work. Remote work, either for a company, an agency, or freelancing, is a great fit for empty-nesters. It's perfect for those who want to be closer to family more often, travel on longer trips, and have more time for fitness and recreation. 

Even AARP is blogging about this idea. They are seeing a huge shift after the 2020 pandemic.  In the later years of our working life, we realize we can work in an interesting, engaging, up-to-date, desirable and flexible career. It is achievable! You can become a digital marketer at over 50 years old. I did it and you can too! You just have to be willing to put in some time learning the digital marketing tools. 

Among workers ages 50 to 59, in the past 3 years:

-- Laura Petrecca, contributing writer for AARP,  April 2023

Work from home. Cartoon of woman sitting in an easy chair with a laptop at home. Caption: More meaningful, less stress, slow down!

And now, when we work from home, we can have the corner office with the window, the plant, and a premium parking spot!

Infographic showing "how we're taught to measure success" (salary and job title) vs. a better measure which shows "job title, salary, free time, liking what you do, physical health, mental health"

Work-Life Balance: The secret is finding a way to work remotely

Technology enables us to have a work-life balance. Our work can be accessible from where we are. We can fit our work more conveniently into our daily lives. We can work when we feel naturally the most productive.  


Many older generation workers over 50 are looking for a second career with better work-life balance. In the '80's and '90's we experienced careers that were success-driven, only focusing on the professional position we had achieved and how much money we could make. A 60-hour week was common. Now, not done with working yet, we can make a shift. We can consider Digital Marketing as a career that can indeed be tailored to how we want to structure our lives.


We are no longer chained to a factory-like office, need to commute to work, clock in from 8-5, or sit in a Herman Miller office cubicle with no natural sunlight all day long. Companies benefit from productive, creative, and happy employees. No wonder remote employees are happy:  studies also show that remote workers can save up to $6,000 a year by working remotely. 

Infographic, work-life balance looks different for everyone. Four pie charts showing different work and life schedules communicating a flexible lifestyle

Work-life balance is not necessarily about getting more "time off". It’s also about organizing our day and capitalizing on our most productive work hours. By changing our careers after 50 to Digital Marketing, we can have the flexibility of how we spend time at work, at home, with family, and in our recreational activities.


Plenty of employers are on board and plenty of part-time, remote work or hybrid remote work is available. Perhaps it's time to review your career options! 


There are a lot of part-time, remote, hybrid, and flexible working opportunities for Digital Marketers.  


Collage showing a variety of digital nomads, including people over 50, all working remotely with laptops

This Digital Nomad "location-independent lifestyle" can be for anyone, at any age, and it's desirable for a lot of different reasons depending upon where you are in life. It can involve traveling abroad or be shorter trips within the US. Yes, it is possible to become a Digital Nomad when you're older. 

You need digital skills to be a Digital Nomad!

Can people over 50 be a digital nomad? Do you want to travel? Are you burned out? Bored? Have you been in the same career for decades, and want something different? Yearning for a more fulfilling job or a new focus or challenge?  Dreaming of working remotely, and perhaps traveling to exciting places in the US or around the World as a Digital Nomad


It's not for everyone, but many countries are now offering nomad visas, welcoming the foreign workers with their lap tops, and their money for the country's local economy. It's a win-win. 

According to Statista, 0ver 25% of the World's Digital Nomad population is over 40 years old. Being closer to family, ailing parents, children, or grandchildren, is also a consideration and a possible bonus of this work-from-anywhere Digital Nomad lifestyle. 


Starting a new career as a Digital Nomad obviously requires digital skills! 53% of Digital Nomads are self-taught and 83% are self-employed. There are a lot of free and inexpensive ways online to learn in-demand skills for Digital Marketing.There is a lot of opportunity in this field for self-determination and success. It can be more meaningful, fun, and something that you enjoy doing every day. 


The goal is to be able to work how we like, where we like, and as long as we like, possibly delaying retirement. 

Graphic showing transferable skills: writing and editing, problem solving, project management, communication, critical thinking, negotiation , teamwork and adaptability. Photo is of a woman over 50 working at a laptop.

You already have valuable transferable business and life skills

Changing careers at 50 may be intimidating. Aren’t you supposed to be advancing in seniority where you are working now? Climbing the ladder? Is this a giant step backwards? Isn’t it too late to change and too late to learn? In a word, NO!  You're never too old to go digital. 


What are transferable skills? These are the non-digital business skills professionals have learned over the years in their previous careers. Most seasoned experienced workers have "project management" skills, for example. Professionals from any field can be very successful new Digital Marketers. 


Skills you already have save hiring companies a lot of headaches and required training, because you already can do what they are looking for! Add Digital Marketing skills to this list of transferable skills, and you are a strong candidate. 

Examples of transferable skills from your existing career

Mature business/life transferable skills from your previous career are an advantage when applying for entry-level jobs in another field. In fact, you may find you are more able to use the skills you most enjoy, or are best at, when you combine them with Digital Marketing. With my transferable skills and experience in hand, I began my journey by enrolling in some Digital Marketing courses. I focused on switching my career to include Digital Marketing after 20 years in print Advertising Sales. Exciting! 


Older career-changers have many advantages over new college graduates because they can contribute their transferable skills to the new job.

Top 8 things to consider before changing careers to a remote entry-level Digital Marketing job

1. Do you like learning and using new technical tools?

A Digital Marketer is not a programmer or a gamer but must be familiar with navigating the Internet and working with online office tools. An interviewer will assume you are familiar with basic business tools like Microsoft and Google Office suites, spreadsheets and word processing programs, etc... Social media experience is required also, as most of the marketing is on various social channels.


Keeping up with the latest trends, tools, and updates is also key to remaining relevant in your field. You'll be more valuable to your company or clients. There are a lot of programs used in Digital Marketing, but they all have tutorials and there is an opportunity to practice and learn as you go. Learning is important both before getting hired, and then also on the job.   


If you spend time online, on social media, reading blogs, watching YouTube, listening to podcasts, and surfing the web, you’ll see all the great ways to immerse yourself in the Digital Marketing world. You will be working on digital campaigns to get people on the Internet to notice and learn about your company’s brand and buy its products and services.


While you’re searching around on the Internet, notice the design and placement, and your reaction to the ads! Advertising is where you will spend a lot of time as a Digital Marketer. 


White man over 50 smiling and working at a laptop

2. Are you a good writer?

Content Marketing is in demand. Search Engine Optimization depends a lot on content and blogging. Content marketing and keyword research are top-of-mind in 2023 marketing budgets (In this survey, 62% and 37% of respondents said they would be spending more on these areas). 


The purpose of SEO is for websites to provide the best answers to customer queries. Google intends to give the searchers what they are asking for and expects marketers to do the same. It’s about the relevance of the article, and the “keywords and backlinks”. Google cares a lot about Experience Expertise Authority and Trust (E.E.A.T.) and you will be focusing on these aspects of a business as a Digital Marketer to put the business in the best light. 

Digital Marketing blogs take preparation, research, and organization. It’s a learned skill. It takes practice to write engaging, relevant, and/or entertaining articles, stories, informational summaries, etc... that will rank high on search engine pages.


If this is something that interests you, I recommend researching the freelance content writer Jacob McMillen. He is successful and has an affordable tutorial video that teaches how to write valuable content. 

Content marketing is in demand! High-level content marketing professionals earn a lot of money for good content that moves a company higher up in search engines and attracts more business. 

Black man at a laptop with a screen showing images he's using to create content.

3. Do you love being creative? 

Creativity gets businesses noticed. Creative digital marketing enhances a company’s dominance in a niche market. Think of the big brands and how you remember them. Even a small business can stand out with a creative and memorable marketing campaign. 


Digital Marketers are creative, investigative, and artistic.  Would you enjoy thinking of things others have not thought of in campaigns? Would you enjoy creating ads, infographics, and videos with marketing tools like Canva? Building a simple website with Google Sites or a sales presentation on Google Slides?

Digital Marketers creatively navigate marketing hurdles and enable businesses to claim market share to make money. 

A screen shot of a Google Analytics report.

4. Do you enjoy data, graphs, and working with numbers?

The heavy lifting of this profession is in Research and Analytics.


Research: Conducting research is a core skill of the job. Research and Analytics are about discovering what your competition is doing and what your target audience is buying. If you don’t know the competition you can’t be an effective digital marketer, period! You have to be a sleuth! 


Tools such as Ahrefs and SEMrush give you all the domain ranking, keywords, and backlinks intel you need to make good decisions. It’s worth taking some of the SEMrush free tutorials.

Data Analytics:  Digital Marketers must be enthusiastic about poring over numbers and making sense of raw data. Google Analytics attaches to a website for free and can tell a marketer everything they need to know about the site visitors. You'll use Google Ads for ad campaigns. 


The ability to analyze and leverage a website’s data is powerful. It’s well worth the effort to get some certifications here, as I mentioned earlier. Being a little competitive doesn’t hurt either, because your job is to go up against your company’s biggest competitors. Your work will actually be genuinely fun!


If you naturally like puzzles, solving mysteries, seeing patterns, and discovering solutions, Digital Marketing is a great field for you.


Two young entry-level digital marketing workers with laptops, working remotely together in a coffee shop.

5. Are you a people person?

Why People Skills?  You mean, an entry-level Digital Marketing career isn't a “hide behind your laptop” kind of job?

The purpose of the job is to attract people! It is marketing after all. You must learn how to collaborate in a team, understand buyers' motives, and reach, engage, and inspire people on Social Media. 


Digital Marketers must know the questions to ask to get answers that, when implemented, make money for the companies or clients they work for. "I don't know but I'll find out" is perfectly acceptable in the Digital Marketing world, as it's changing all the time. We must be willing to ask questions of experts more knowledgeable than we are. 

You have obviously developed professional people and collaboration skills over the years and these will come in handy now. Clients, colleagues, and customers appreciate a personable Digital Marketer!


In this entry-level job, you’ll most likely have younger supervisors and colleagues.  If you’ve been working for a couple of decades, and you transition into a new marketing job, you’ll have computer-literate, successful younger marketers, go-getters with experience on your team to guide you. And your boss and colleagues will very likely be a lot younger than you are.  The average age of a Digital Marketing Specialist is 36 years old.


Communication with clients is key. Good clear communication with people who are new to Digital Marketing is important to maintaining a good client/customer relationship. Many Digital Marketing roles are the middle-man between the digital specialists and the customer. Our job as a Digital Marketing Coordinator, if that is the role you are investigating, involves  facilitating program changes and conveying results between digital marketing programmers, graphic artists, advertising specialists and business owners. 


Professionals should be able to communicate, interact and work well with their team, customers, and potential customers. 


Pile of pebbles balanced into a column on a beach.

6. Is your financial situation suitable for a career change?

It’s a balancing act to get your existing life to prepare for moving forward to another one. Plan to prepare for times of unemployment as you make the move. You may also have to cover under-employment as you are in the transition process. I would  recommend that you have saved at least three months or more of living expenses when you begin.


Training can also cost a lot, although I break down my costs below, and I spent less than $1,000 on courses! There is also purchasing of new equipment to factor in if you don't have a reliable up-to-date laptop. 


Having enough savings to cover unforeseen bumps on the job-changing road is a good idea. 


A clear modern home office desk, with a laptop and an extra screen.

7. Do you have updated equipment and a strong, reliable Internet connection?

You'll need a reliable laptop (or two), having a couple of screens does really help, a good camera for online conference calls, and of course a strong and reliable Internet connection. If you have an old laptop (like I did!), it’s time for a new one. A good phone probably goes without saying. 


You can search online for equipment that fits your budget, and what you think will work for you. 


Wnite woman over 40 sitting in an easy chair working at home on her laptop.

8. Are you suited to work remotely?

When working in a home office, good home-office space and time management are key. A person’s temperament to adapt to remote work, balance family needs, and manage interruptions is critical to being able to be productive.  It may seem as if everything will fall into place once you get your new job and begin to work from home. But a lot can interfere. A lot. Be prepared to have to set new work-from-home boundaries, and stick to them! 

Family health issues and other family situations can make productive and consistent remote work difficult. It’s important for family members to know that there will be adjustments and expectations that must change with your new career. 


Make sure you have some uninterrupted space where you can concentrate and manage your time without too much stress.  

Are you ready and able to switch careers? Now on to adding the tools.

inforgraphic entitled Digital Marketing Skills. Showing what social media, email marketing, pay per click and search engine optimization entails for an entry-level digital marketing position

How to get the 4 basic entry-level Digital Marketing skills for an entry-level job

Adding Digital Marketing skills to your existing experience takes commitment and dedication. But it’s not a Master’s Degree. My recent training experience at JobPrepped took three months, including the real-work assignments, to complete. This is a great affordable course and they have a free trial. It covered four basic areas and was fun to take. 


The four key Digital Marketing areas to learn are Social Media Advertising, Email Marketing, Pay Per Click, and Search Engine Optimization. These should be covered in most entry-level Digital Marketing courses. 

Things to consider when researching online courses and Digital Marketing boot camps



There are courses that really can cost a lot, more than I wanted to spend. I didn’t want to go to college again, either. 


As a beginner, however, you can get knowledge on your own by taking some of the many well-designed certification courses out there. No, you don’t need a Master’s Degree, unless you want one of course. (They usually start at around $30K!)


By taking the less expensive and lower time-commitment Digital Marketing micro certifications and Digital Marketing boot camps, you can gain the skills needed to qualify for entry-level positions. 


Follow your curiosity and interests. They will take you where you need to go to learn this new material and have fun doing it.  


Digital Marketing training time and costs

The best Digital Marketing training does not have to be expensive. A college degree is not necessary. Affordable courses and good free tutorials are available to take advantage of.  At some point, you may want to research and invest in affordable good-quality courses and tools. 





You will learn about various products and discover them while you are taking the courses. All the tools you will need can be obtained for free trials so you can practice. 

Actual costs and time commitment

Google Professional Certificate (Coursera) - $196 / 4 mos

Google Analytics Certificate (Skillshop) - $0 / 2 wks

Canva (creative tool subscription) - $100

Jacob McMillen (content marketing tutorial video) - $49

JobPrepped (Digital Marketing Boot Camp) - $549 / 3 mos

Training Costs: $894 + miscellaneous home office supplies

New Laptop: $1,500

Total Cost: $2,500

Training Time: Seven months (full-time).

(NOTE: These costs were effective January, 2023 and may have changed)

Click Here for SEO Optimization results of this blog page. 

Applying for jobs: "Can't get a job when you don't have the experience. Can't get the experience when you don't have a job!" 

The Dilemma: How to get a marketing job with no experience. 

The Hurdle: Intimidation!


When you see the experience that you’re "required" to have for Digital Marketing entry-level jobs, you may feel woefully deficient. This is known as “imposter syndrome” when you believe you are faking it and not actually a real Digital Marketer!

Funny meme of Dr. Evil making the air quotes with his hands, the meme says Digital Marketing "entry level" in quotes, but the job needs 2 to 3 years experience and a masters degree.

However, the truth about these entry-level job listings is this: a) no, three years of experience is not required, and b) these specific skills are easier to learn than you think. You also don't have to be a Digital Marketing expert to qualify for an entry level position.  Many businesses need a real entry-level marketer, or a marketing generalist, because they have entry-level work to do! They will understand you are a beginner with basic training, a good understanding of what Digital Marketing entails, and you are eager to learn. 


You must be willing and open to start at entry level. Don't worry, you'll easily get opportunities to gain experience and become more valuable on the job. On-the-job training is common in Digital Marketing jobs, because each company does things a little differently. 

Gif of woman confused about Digital Marketing entry-level job listings needing 2-3 years experience and a master's degree.

The Solution: Prepare a portfolio, a collection of examples of things you have learned in the courses. An excellent idea is to create and market a website, practicing those skills, and generating traffic! I have benefitted a great deal from creating a website and posting my project work as I go along. 


I prepared mine on Google Sites and used a portfolio template, turned it into a website and started practicing. Apply for entry-level jobs! Hiring managers and recruiters will want to see examples of the skills you have learned. 


Of course, you must also update your resume. You can get free resume online screening, and perhaps purchase a professional review to make sure it can be read by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Don't forget to update your LinkedIn profile with only the skills you want to be hired for. It's best to only cover the last 10 years of your employment history too. 


You can research how to update your resume for a career change. You will find many free examples, free advice, and resume services to help. When you start your job search, with training, an updated resume, and a portfolio of your skills, I promise you will get some responses. 

Companies will want you to work for them if you have these basic entry-level Digital Marketing skills, and a little actual work experience in Digital Marketing helps to have on your resume. 


Traditional Uncle Sam photo pointing at the camera saying "I want you" meaning companies want beginner entry level employees

Research job listings for positions that interest you

LinkedIn and Online Job Boards like Indeed give all the job descriptions you’ll ever need! The goal of researching entry-level Digital Marketing job listings is not to see what you qualify for today. You can see what interests you want to qualify for when you are applying for jobs after you have gained some skills.


You can study these while you are in training courses to learn what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for. Reading about job duties and requirements will give you an idea of what naturally interests you. What naturally interests you, and what you naturally are good at, will make for a much easier and more satisfying career change. 

The best job listings to review were on LinkedIn and Virtual Vocations (a subscription but very supportive with a resume review and webinars).


Also be aware of what constitutes a "remote" job. There are questions to ask to confirm that yes, you can indeed work from anywhere, on your schedule. Here, a Digital Nomad shares her advice about how to clarify what you are signing up for after a job offer. 


Job listings on job boards will give you an outline of exactly what employers are looking for, and will give you clues as to what skills you need to get your dream job. 

Conclusion

You can be confident that with some inexpensive training in these four basic skill areas, YOU ARE WANTED! Companies NEED entry-level Digital Marketing professionals as much as they need an SEO Specialist or a Director of Digital Marketing. They post job listings requiring "entry-level" and then will offer a lot of company-specific training for the position. 

The key question is, as an experienced professional, and starting a new career at 50, are you willing and able to begin at an entry-level position? It is usually not long before you gain experience on the job to advance further. 

Changing careers after 50 to Digital Marketing makes a lot of sense to achieve a more flexible lifestyle and to make doing the things we want to do possible. For the right position, and with persistence and focus on what you want and need, it could be a refreshing and fun experience! Gaining basic Digital Marketing entry-level skills could open up a great opportunity to refresh your career and enable you to take a little more control of your day.

All Digital Marketers have a special role to play in a marketing team, and companies need the beginners too. Remember this: you won't stay a beginner for long. It's a fast-paced and ever-changing industry. 

I sincerely wish you GOOD LUCK! You can do this.


About Susanna Kelland

Susanna is now a Digital Marketer. She is a Digital Account Representative with Hibu, a national US company providing Digital Solutions to local small businesses. She was previously in Advertising Sales (mostly print) for 20 years.  She has worked for high-quality and big-impact national US advertising companies such as Apartment Guide, LivingSocial, and Best Version Media. Originally from the UK, she lives in the mountains of Colorado and spends her time running, hiking, and practicing yoga.  Sometimes she stays up past midnight creating memes, ads, infographics on Canva, and working on blogs like this one. 

What am I doing now? Follow me! The information in this article is from my own experience. (It was also written totally without AI!) It is how I went about my own career-change journey after I decided to transition to Digital Marketing later in my working life.  It took me about seven months to learn Digital Marketing basic concepts and skills. I am now learning every day on the job and the activities in this article set me up for a great foundation for further learning in a Digital Marketing role. Please feel free to contact me, or follow me on LinkedIn to see my progress today!