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


Have you had to accept part-time work when looking for full-time employment in your 50s?

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

The latest employment figures show the over 50 s as having the largest rise in long term unemployment, and many of those finding work accepting part-time roles.

Many of us in our 50s  have found ourselves in situations we could never have imagined a decade ago – underemployed or unemployed.

With no sign of the economy improving in the short term how does this impact anyone in this situation? Are there any solutions?

What do you do if your income from your  part-time employment falls far short of meeting your requirements?

Personally I cannot stress enough the need to remember that anyone currently in their 50s is far from at the end of their working life. Even if accepting part-time employment now, look at the long term picture too.

What can we do if we have to accept part-time work?

  • Can you use any additional skills gained in part-time work to make you more employable in a full-time role?
  • Could having one part-time role help form the basis of ‘portfolio’ working, adding other part-time work into the mix or setting up a business alongside?
  • Can you attend courses/ training alongside your work to plug any skills gap which may be the barrier to gaining full-time employment. To remain employable you need to keep your skillbase current.
  • Does your cv which you are submitting for full time employment accurately reflect your marketable skills in today ‘s workplace? Tailor each cv to individual  job openings where necessary. I have met people who have literally sent out hundreds of CVs, none of which clearly stated what they could offer each potential employer. Disheartening for them to face constant rejection, especially if a more focussed cv could have made a difference!
  • What if it is your partner who is underemployed? The same principles apply.
  • Ask at your local jobcentre if there are any jobcoaching programmes or courses you might be eligible for.
  • Network, network, network! Network informally with friends, family and former colleagues, online via linkedin, facebook and twitter, and attend networking events. Some networking groups such as Business Biscotti are free to join and only charge a few pounds to cover the cost of tea and coffee to attend the events.
  • If you are looking to set up your own business, look to see if events or mentoring programmes offered by PRIME – a charity set up by Prince Charles specifically to support the over 50s looking to set up businesses.
  • Stay positive – women over 50 do make great employees!

If you have found yourself in this position, please share your thoughts and experience – so we can all learn and support each other!

Photo credit: Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Judy

    June 15, 2012

    Who wants to work full time in their fifties! I have 3 part time jobs giving me variety and different experiences, my new employer finds the younger members of her staff work harder and don’t mess around as much when I am on duty because when I am at work, I work, although you can make it enjoyable too!
    Plus on my ‘days off’ I get to ‘work’ in my garden, take the dog for walk, have a leisurely look around all the charity shops, fabulous bargains to be had!
    I have a teenage daughter and recently took all of half term work off to be with her, we had a great week together, what full time job could give me that?
    No, don’t look for full time work in your fifties, try something different, it can be alot of fun!

  2. Polly

    August 28, 2012

    I agree with Judy “who wants to work full time in their fifties” I worked for 34 years and when I decided to retire it was my employer who suggested I perhaps I would like to do 2 days,brilliant employer.
    Okay there’s a bit less money coming in but I think that at my age you’ve learnt how to make the money go that bit further, you know how to make cheaper nutrishous meals and having the latest gadget isen’t so important, and now I have time to do what I want to do and to spend time with my husband

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