The impact COVID-19 has had on younger generations from an employment perspective has been well documented. However, the job losses to already occur, and those undoubtedly coming in the next few months, are far-reaching across several generations.
If you’re over 50 and feel like, or know, your job may be at risk, finding new employment doesn’t have to be daunting.
How can you find a job later in life?
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First, See Your Age as an Asset
Here in the UK, we have a raft of legislation against age discrimination.
However, many businesses actively look to hire people with more experience. Therefore, you should see your age more as an asset than as a liability when looking for work.
Today, many companies host mass recruitment or interview events where you’ll find yourself in a group of anything from four to 20 people, sometimes even more! You could easily find yourself in a room with a recruitment consultant or your potential future boss, and a dozen other jobseekers, and be the oldest one there.
While this can be confidence-sapping, remind yourself of the knowledge and experience you have that they won't get for years to come.
Give Your CV an Overhaul
If you find yourself job hunting for the first time in many years, it can be tempting to dust off your old CV and start applying for jobs at once.
Such an approach would be a mistake.
Instead of merely adding to the most recent edition of your CV, or even trying to edit it, the best thing to do is start again. The competition for the jobs that will be available during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 will be fierce. As such, you need to ensure your CV stands out and leaves the recruiter feeling like they must meet and interview you.
Your CV should:
- Be no longer than two pages.
- Include a short personal statement or summary about you.
- Include a bullet point list of your essential skills.
- Have most detail about the last ten years of your career.
If you had jobs more than a decade ago that are relevant to the role you’re applying for today, you can list your jobs with the dates you worked there and positions you held.
Depending on your career history, many of the companies you worked for might not even exist now. As such, employers might not pay too much attention to what you did ten years ago. However, you can still list skills and experiences from back then to support your application.
Network to Build Relationships, Not to Collect Business Cards or LinkedIn Connections
Networking is the Marmite of the business and jobs world. Half of us love it and take advantage of every networking opportunity going. The other half of us have a list of several unpleasant things we would rather do than attend a networking event.
However, for better or for worse, creating new connections and building relationships with people is often key to your career success.
It’s how you network with others that’s key.
You should remember that networking doesn’t stop when you get a business card. You want to stay in touch with past colleagues, mentors and acquaintances long after you initially met them.
Be aware that you never know who might help in terms of landing a new job or connection that leads to work opportunities. You should reach out to past colleagues, friends and acquaintances and let them know that you’re looking for new ventures.
Don’t ask for a job but talk about your job plans and your skills. Ask for advice and detail your plans. For example, you could:
- Identify people in industries you are interested in and ask how the person got the job.
- Ask tips from people who have recently changed career paths.
- Check if people in your ideal jobs think your skills align with the requirements.
- Get information on specific employers you are interested in from people who work there or have worked there in the past.
By framing your contacts like this, you are learning valuable things as well as boosting your connections.
Remember to stay in touch afterwards as well and offer help. You don’t want to network with people only to get something but also to provide others with value. Let them know you are willing to lend a hand if they need something in return.
Become Tech Savvy
There is no denying that most modern workplaces use technology to varying degrees. The stereotypical view also is that the older you are, the less you know about it. You should show why this is not the case!
You don't need to become a programmer to get a job in the modern market. But you should also go a bit out of your way to show that technology doesn't stop or scare you! If you are already tech-savvy, then remember to mention it in your CV.
If you want to refresh and improve your tech skills, you can find many free online courses that can help you with basic skills. Depending on the types of jobs you are looking for, the essential skills can be anything from knowing how to use videoconferencing software to creating your own website. Take time to improve and expand your tech skills.
You should also consider joining social media and if you are already on various platforms, make sure to check your public profiles. Employers today check applicant's social media, and you don't want your profile to hinder your chances of landing a job!
Stay Positive, Remain Flexible
Looking for a job can be daunting and stressful, especially in the current economic environment. You should stay positive and remember that career changes in later life are neither uncommon nor impossible. First Direct’s research in 2018, reported by the Independent, revealed how 42% of people over 45 were looking to change careers. You are not alone, and you shouldn't let the task put you down.
It’s also crucial to remain flexible. Don't narrow your options too much or overlook temporary opportunities. A temporary role could well turn into a permanent position. It might even lead to fruitful connections.
Stay open to ideas and suggestions. With a positive and flexible approach, finding a job becomes just a little bit easier!