We all know that the job market is challenging for everyone regardless of life stage we find ourselves in. Clearly motivation and how you feel about recent events. For example, a redundancy or losing a job you loved, may well impact on your ability to bounce back. Needless to say you may not necessarily feel positive about getting back to work soon after a difficult experience.
Though what happens if you are a more ‘mature aged’ or a 50+ person how do you get yourself back on the employment horse again. Regardless of age, you will probably need a salary and a sense of purpose at work or in your career. Mature aged working has many health and well-being benefits as well. Being at work is a healthy place to be; both for our mental and physical health. So being in work as a more mature person is something to be actively strived for.
Needless to say, there is a lot of attention on the unemployed graduates and young people starting out at work. Some would argue rightly so. However most of us will be working to a lot later in life, so what about supporting the 50+ to be happy and fulfilled at work. What of the mature aged workers or older job seekers, who have found themselves looking for employment for perhaps the first time in years. If you fall into that group or perhaps you know someone who does, these ideas ought to help with a plan and a pinch of motivation.
The Mature Aged Persons Guide to Getting Back to Work
Getting the CV up to date
If you haven’t already done so, make sure that your CV is bang up to date. Of course, this one or two-page document is designed to “sell or market” you and your skills etc in the best possible light. I am sure as a mature aged worker/person you will have plenty in your CV. Everyone should update and refresh your CV regularly as part of good career management. If nothing else its good to revisit areas of achievement and how great you are in what you do. We all feel a sense of pride and surprise sometimes at the work we have done in the past.
Career management is an ongoing thing that needs to be continually managed. Don’t forget to tailor your CV to suit each job application you make. Employers and recruiters will generally make a decision on a CV within a matter of seconds (if you are lucky you get 30 seconds per CV) so make sure that yours is not one that ends up in the unlucky pile. Regardless of your current situation, just update your CV to include any voluntary work or training or studying you are undertaking.
Ensure the CV is in a format that is industry or sector applicable. This means for example if you are a marketer or salesperson, you may use the web or software to showcase your talents effectively. However, if you prefer more analogue methods to present your CV use a format that is clear and punchy to help the recruiter see that they need to interview you.
Update skill set
No matter what age you may be, it is really important to continue to update your employment and work skills. Keeping abreast of changes or developments in your industry/business or just learning new skills is a great way of keeping in touch with your industry sector. This will go a long way towards making you seem even more employable to any prospective employer. Digital technology and other areas are changing so rapidly that training or just keeping yourself up to date is essential. You may have some free time at the moment, so use the time to have a go at some training or a course to help your digital skill set. It’s a good time to make the most of the opportunity for further education or training. There are also lots of online and face to face courses which you could take which would be great for your CV, and give a positive impression to any prospective employer.
Networking – getting out and about
It really cannot be stressed highly enough just how important networking is to any job search or career development. Get out there and start connecting with people you know and in your network, either online or face to face. Check out your local newspapers, contact your local Chamber of Commerce, or networking event to see what is coming up. The more that you connect with people and employers and peers alike; the more likely you will be to find out about employment opportunities. The rule of thumb is that you want to be remembered for being proactive and positive about your career prospects, so now is your chance.
As mentioned earlier, networking does not only apply to face to face meetings at events, networking online via social media platforms is crucial to your success too. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, then it’s time to do so. Creating a profile and proactively engaging with prospective employers, businesses/organisations, former colleagues or key players in your industry or profession is a great idea.
If you have only ever worked in one industry or business area, as a mature aged person you may not have thought about a change of career before. However, it may prove to be both beneficial and in some cases, essential. For example, your particular industry has suffered badly from a downturn or perhaps technology has changed the way you have worked in the past. As a result, you may not have too much of a choice but to look at other areas. Take some time, however, to think about what you would really want to do. Will that new career needs you to retrain or need further qualifications? What skills do you already have that are transferable to another area of work and what do you have in the career capital that you can use. As stated career change can feel daunting, however with a proper strategy and goals it can be done.
If you are considering a career away from what you have done before, then getting support and some proper advice is a good idea. The world is full of people who have a passion for an area of work but do not invest time or effort to build career capital in the new career. You may need to think about how you bridge the skills gaps. Or perhaps think about what type of filler job you can do that will move you closer to your goals. Speak to a professional careers adviser, coach or to someone from that industry or sector and see what they believe would be the best route for you.
Temporary, Part-time or Freelance Work
If you have only ever worked in permanent full-time positions, taking a temporary or part-time role may feel a very weird but wonderful environment. Temporary work may be easier to come by and is rarely seen as a negative for any future employer. You may be able to pick up short-term contract positions or perhaps undertake some freelance work. This will largely depend on your skills and your background of course.
These roles are very beneficial as they can keep you in touch with the workplace. Giving you the chance to expanding your experience, keeping a salary coming in and may just lead to permanent job offers. Therefore, don’t restrict yourself to just searching for permanent full-time roles, be brave and widen your horizons to increase your job opportunities.
We all know being out of work is a pain for most of us. It’s no different for both young and let’s say, more mature members of the community. Confidence and self-esteem can take a hit and motivation may dwindle if you don’t brush yourself off, and make the most of your great career or work history. Remember also an older worker is 40+ these days, so there are a lot of people who will come into the bracket of mature that we would have thought.
Hopefully, with an up to date CV, a bit of support from friends and family, some networking and along with broadening your job searching canvas, you will be back at work sooner than you think. Maybe those days when you felt all hope was lost and “no one will want someone as old as me” feelings will subside. You will begin to look back on that time as just an irritation and not a full-on crisis. However, anyone looking for work or changing career will experience dark days. Though being active and following a few easy to manage tasks will keep you motivated. You will begin to feel positive and you never know you may just find a new career or a job you will love. A job that will grow with you into your later career that will help you stay active, healthy and fulfilled at work.
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