Changing career in your 50s may feel daunting but you are certainly not alone; the 45 – 55s are one of the largest age groups looking to make a shift in their career path.
With an ageing population, the approach of Brexit and the skills shortages facing many industry sectors, employment of older people could be a critical to the future labour market. In 2017 the government unveiled plans to encourage companies to increase their percentage of over-50 workers by 2020.
Some companies have shown a very positive response: Barclays, PwC, the Co-operative Group, Aviva, Centrica, M&S, National Express, Sainsbury’s, B&Q, Atos, Mercers, FSCS and Boots all have a positive strategy towards employment of older people.
There is, undeniably, age discrimination in the workplace, but many companies acknowledge that older candidates can often offer loyalty, reliability, experience and maturity in a way that a younger employees sometimes can’t. There are, of course, many products and services that are largely consumed by the over 50s, so it makes sense to have employees with a greater understanding of the market audience.
Here are some things to think about as you embark upon your job search: –
Self- awareness is an essential part of finding a fulfilling work no matter what age or stage of life you are at. We all have a unique combination of skills and strengths which can change over time. Being clear and confident about who you are and what you can offer, and being able to articulate this to others, is an important aspect of finding fulfilling employment.
Take a piece of paper and write down your top skills and strengths. What elements of your past experience have you excelled in; what do you have to offer a future employer? It is also worth considering what you don’t like doing, what your weaknesses are and whether you need to improve in certain areas.
Learning – keeping up to date with skills
Employers want to know that you are up to date with new technologies, and a have a positive attitude to learning and new ways of working.
Are there any other skills you need to update which do not form part of your course? Do you have up to date IT and digital skills for example? Luckily, these days, there are many interesting short courses available online: –
Talk to as many of your contacts as you can; most jobs are not advertised so it is worth letting people know that you are looking for work. Connecting with others is also a major part of staying resilient.
If you enjoy networking, why not try going to an event:-
Keep in mind that your CV needs to demonstrate you are the right person for the job; it does not need to document your entire life story. You probably won’t need to go back more than ten years when recording your employment history.
A ‘skills based’ CV focuses on your abilities and strengths, and may be more effective if you are changing direction. If you would like help with arranging your CV, please email email@example.com
LinkedIn is a great platform for networking, job hunting, labour market news and keeping up to date with new approaches in the world of work.
Create a LinkedIn profile which clearly demonstrates your skills, knowledge and past experience, as well as any other activities you have undertaken which will demonstrate your calibre as a potential employee.
Be specific about your achievements and explain what you have done without jargon – verbs are more powerful than adjectives.
Although we might not like it, the way we present ourselves is intrinsic to job success. We are not suggesting you dress like a twenty-five year old, but looking smart, fresh and contemporary may help you on your journey.
Be resilient – the jobs market can be tough. If you were not successful at an interview, ensure that you make a note of the questions you were asked, try to get feedback from the hiring manager and consider where you need to do more research or improve your responses.
If you would like to discuss your career plans further, you are welcome to book an appointment with the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org