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Whether you're setting up a business or looking for employment, make sure you're marketable over 50


Returning to Work in Your Fifties

woman back to work Article by Keren Smedley
Many of us get caught up with concerns about our age and these block us from getting what we want. We fall into the trap of believing we’re too old to get the jobs we want, that no-one will want to employ someone who’s had a career break, or just want to change jobs.
It’s easy to get caught up in what we don’t think we can do rather than what we can do. Below is a four-stage plan.

 Follow this and that dream job could be yours!

Stage 1 

  • What are your skills and talents? Write down all the skills you have, even if you think they’re unimportant or so simple that everyone has them. Gather these skills from all parts of your life – home, social and work. If you can follow a recipe, you can follow instructions. If you find you always add a variation, you’re creative! What are the skills you used to have and have forgotten about, like organising a sponsored charity walk when you were at school or your children’s school fair? What do you do socially? What are the things you do that make others say, ‘I couldn’t do that?’ And remember the basics like reading, writing and arithmetic!
  • Now you’ve got your skill list, divide it into Basic, Special and Personality skills – for example, honest, trustworthy, and logical. If you’re stuck on this one, think about how others would describe you. You can always ask them!
  • Now organise your skills and talents into clusters. The best way to do this is to take your skills and look at what you can do with them – for example, problem-solve, teach, manage people (remember not everything has to come from your working life).

Stage 2

  1. You know your abilities and qualities so you know exactly what you can offer and at what level. But where do you want to do it? Your first task is to put your attributes into priority order. Which ones are the most important to you? If you’re stuck, remind yourself of the times you’ve enjoyed. What made the events so enjoyable? List those attributes at the top. Also think about the things you don’t like in your job or in other parts of your life. You want to find a job with as few of these as possible.
  2. If you want to move into a new field of work, you’ll need to be able to show that you have the relevant competence to undertake the tasks you’ll have to tackle and evidence to prove your capabilities. Preparation is the key so take your skills and think of examples where you’ve used them and what you achieved.

floristStage 3 

  1. Next, you need to identify what you want to do. This is your opportunity to pursue them.
  2. Make a list of your interests – fishing, baking, fashion, animals and so on. Brainstorm all the possible careers where these interests could be pursued. You should now have a list of possible new careers. While doing this, think (as they say) out of the box – in other words, think more broadly than you normally would. Don’t restrict yourself, even if your ideas at present seem a bit implausible.

Stage 4  

  1. The next and final stage is now to go and get the ideal job that uses your skills and meets your desires. You’ve probably got a lot of possible avenues in front of you, which need to be prioritised. Some may be areas you know little about so do some research. Make an appointment to talk to someone in that field. Find out everything you can so you can make an informed choice. Ask if you can do a day’s work shadowing. Or you could call someone in the field for a chat and ask to pick their brains. Being consulted as an expert is something we all love!
  2. Having gathered all the information, you’re ready to decide where you want to focus your attention and what kind of post you want to apply for. Armed with all this knowledge about yourself, your skills and the post, you’ll be very desirable to any employer.
  3. The next step is to write a CV and fill in the application form. If this isn’t something you’ve done recently you may need some help.

Here are 10 useful articles to help you with your jobsearch:
10 reasons women over 50 make great employees

What to do if you are made redundant

Tips for planning your job search

How to prepare for a job interview

How to prepare for a telephone interview

The importance of choosing the right job title

How to prepare for a video interview

How to handle age discrimination in the jobsearch process

Tips for moving from public sector to private sector

How to make sure you are employable over 50




Author, agony aunt and Director of Experience Matters, an organisation that offers coaching, workshops and consultancy for individuals and companies, Keren Smedley is rapidly becoming one of the top experts on age-related issues. She has written for SAGA, Women's Weekly, The Times and The Daily Mail. Determined to challenge society's outdated myths and stereotypes about age, Keren's courses with Experience Matters and two books Who's That Woman in the Mirror? The Art of Ageing Gracefully and the recently published Who's That Sleeping in My Bed? The Art of Sex and Successful Relationships for Baby Boomers offer practical and empathetic advice on the different issues that come up in relationships as we get older. www.experiencematters.org.uk

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