With public sector spending cuts forecast to affect the jobs of women the hardest, particularly midlife women, what can women in their 50s do to ensure that they are employable following redundancy?
1. Take stock of your skills. How current are they? How relevant are they to today’s employers? Do job advertisements in your sector ask for skills that you don’t have? Look for courses , even if you have to fund them yourself, to plug the gap.
2. Before embarking on any courses ensure your newly acquired skills will be marketable!
3. Would working in the voluntary sector, even part time for a limited period, provide you with practical experience (and references) or new skills which will increase your employability.
4. Have you highlighted all of your skills? perhaps you have skills not relevant to your most recent post which have not been emphasised in your cv. For example you may have planned events, group tours , concerts as part of your social activities, would these abilities be relevant to potential employers?
5. Are your basic IT/social media skills up to date- most businesses now have an online presence – being part of the online community may useful to a potential employer as well as assisting you in your job search.
Do you have realistic salary expectations?
6. Do you need one full time role, or could you look at 2 part-time opportunities.
7. Are you being realistic regarding your salary expectations in the current market? Look at roles advertised and take note of the salary ranges on offer- do you need to adjust your expectations accordingly?
8. Would your skills be of value to multiple clients, but not one full time employer? Perhaps now is a good time to look at going freelance, marketing your skills through your own website ( these can be set up cheaply using applications such as wordpress), and through networking?
9. Ask former colleagues to talk through your strengths and how these could be ‘sold’ to a potential employer or client – they may identify talents you hadn’t thought of highlighting.
10. ‘Practice’ interviews. Ask friends to run dummy interviews. Ask them to pose challenging questions. Think of examples of things you have done which show the impact your work has had.
11. Network, network, network. Friends, family, clubs, online , face to face. Make sure everyone is aware of your skills and availability
12. Prepare thoroughly for each and every interview– do not waste any opportunity.
13. Make sure you look healthy- easy to say- but if you have been neglecting those visits to the gym or long walks, now is the time to address the balance. You may not have youth on your side but you can stress experience and good health.
14. How professional do you look? Is now the time to look at having a makeover? Even if only to boost your own self confidence!
15. Stay positive. Remember- women over 50 make great employees
Photo credit: xedos4