It’s never too late to learn new skills, and if we want to stay employable and marketable – especially with the increase in age for eligibility for a state pension, then we really do have to take personal responsibility to ensure our skills are up to date.
When I first started my career in headhunting- the telephone was my primary business tool and a lot of communication, proposals, meeting confirmations etc were sent by post. In fact I worked for the first recruitment company in Ottawa to install a fax machine (now I am showing my age!)– which initially was not terribly helpful as very few companies had a fax machine to receive faxes at the other end.
Moving forward we progressed to email, conference calls, skype calls etc. As the tools of the business world change, so must we to keep ahead.
If anyone had suggested 5 years ago that I would be running a significant website with other initiatives in the pipeline requiring me to stay on top of technology I would have just laughed at them. I was a total technophobe, unable even to put together a powerpoint presentation – yet now I am uploading articles and images on to the Fab after Fifty website, creating and editing videos for Fab after Fifty, embracing social media and helping to develop downloadable apps to help support my husband’s business. Has any of this been easy? Not at all. It has not come naturally – a point made very clear to me when my 19 year old niece visits and does in 2 minutes what can take me 2 hours. But the none the less I get a sense of achievement from actually doing these things. I attend every webinar going, hunt for youtube tutorials to learn how to better edit or upload videos. Will I ever be expert? No. But now if I decide to outsource some of these tasks in the future at least I know how they are done and what questions to ask potential suppliers.
Don’t give employers an excuse NOT to employ women over 50
Whatever industry we work in we work in we have to stay current, have to make sure our skills are compatable with the demands of today’s businesses. We cannot give employers an excuse of outdated skills as a reason to NOT employ women (or men) over 50.
There are lots of reasons why women over 50 make great employees – do not let the one area totally within our control i.e. acquiring relevant and marketable skills, be a barrier to gaining employment or business success. If you have been made redundant, chances are that there has been little or no investment in training you – or in technology to support the business. Look at job adverts for the types of role you are applying for. Are there any gaps between what is being asked for and what you can offer? How can you bridge the gap? Are there courses you can take ( online or in person), are there any charities you can volunteer with that would provide you with the experience you need? Be creative in how you go about acquiring the skills that make you employable in a competitive environment.
You can do it. You are employable. Employers would be lucky to have you!
Can women over 50 learn new skills? Absolutely!