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


Learning new skills over 50.You never know what you can do until you try!

learn new skills over 50 imageArticle by Ceri Wheeldon

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 We cannot give employers an excuse of outdated skills as a reason to NOT employ women (or men) over 50.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!


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. Valerie W.

    July 22, 2013

    I have found myself just starting a new job at 61. I had to go through training but what sustained me was my knowledge that I could do this job right. Training was difficult not having had to train for a long time. I found I had to use my learning style to it’s full advantage. (I learn by seeing and doing. I had to write out points and then when I had the opportunity to learn by doing. At least I was aware of my learning style.) I’m almost finished training and have noticed the more I was in training the easier it was to learn. We are never too old to learn. Keep on learning it’s a powerful edge in the job market. This is my 3rd job in 10 years. Tell the economy to quit playing havoc with my jobs. :0)


    July 23, 2013

    I’m currently volunteering at a charity bookshop and loving it. I have always been a lover of bookshops and spent hours in Borders as a regular visitor. Some time ago, I applied for a Librarian position, but could not do the maths test, so did not get through. Now I feel like I found the right job for me at 56!

  3. Donna Hull

    January 31, 2014

    Learning a new skill is great for our over 50’s brains, especially when it comes to technology. It gives you confidence, makes you more employable and keeps you up-to-date. There’s nothing more isolating than being behind when it comes to technology (I’m especially referring to online, Internet, computer skills).

  4. Rebecca Olkowski

    February 1, 2014

    It still amazes me that I was able to start a WordPress business just a few years ago and I’m 60 now. We don’t have to confine ourselves to traditional type jobs when we’re perfectly capable of doing anything we set our minds to do.

  5. Carol Graham

    February 23, 2014

    Just published my memoir last fall (I’m 65) and have been on the road steady on speaking tours. I never knew what social marketing/networking was until a few months ago and now it is basically a new full time job (as well as running 3 brick and mortar business) Keeping the brain active keeps the brain young.

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