I am receiving a lot of messages from readers of Fab after Fifty at the moment who are being made redundant in their 50s. Many are concerned that their age may be a factor in seeking new employment, others are concerned that they may not have the skills wanted in today’s marketplace, and others see it as an opportunity to set up their own business or do something they have always wanted to do.
You need to sit down and really evaluate your skillset.
- Have you maintained your skills , technical knowledge, industry knowledge?
- How much have you invested in keeping current over the past few years.
- If you use technology in your role have you been using the most up to date systems?
- Are your professional qualifications all up to date?
- What was of the greatest value to your previous employer – was it your skills, your knowledge of the company’s own people and systems or your sector knowledge and contacts?
If your skills are not up to date you are placing yourself at a disadvantage. Invest time now in taking refresher courses, participate in online tutorials, download some of the latest applications at home and become proficient. See if you can work as a volunteer for a charity that has invested in the latest systems – not only will you learn but you will also develop more contacts and be able to gain an extra reference demonstrating that you can adapt to a new organisation and systems.
If your value was primarily your knowledge of internal systems, did you have dealings with any suppliers who may have had other customers using similar? They may be able to make introductions.
If your knowledge of a particular sector and contacts was your strength, then you need to really build on this and approach your employers competitors, join appropriate groups on Linkedin and other social networks.
Will my age work against me when looking for a new job?
Legislation is in place to protect you from age discrimination. Unfortunately attitudes do take time to catch up.
The first thing is to remember that you are under no obligation to reveal your age on your CV . The second is that you are not at the end of your working life – in fact you may well have another 15 or 20 years of (hopefully enjoyable) work ahead of you.
What you will need to demonstrate is that you are somebody who is adaptable, can work across the generations, still want to learn, and that you are happy to work for a younger boss. The reason I mention the last point is because research has indicated that younger bosses are often reluctant to take on older employees as they are unsure of how to manage them – you need to provide reassurance on this point. If possible stress instances where you have worked in teams where you, or the overall project has been managed by a younger employee – highlight the positives and how much you gained from the experience!
Use your age to your advantage. In theory you have fewer demands on your time. you have no need to take time off during school holidays , you are fabulous at multi-tasking and have managed your fare share of emergencies over the years . Make sure any prospective employer knows this!
Here is a list of 10 useful articles that should help you with your jobsearch.
Is it time to set up your own business?
Businesses set up by the over 50s have a greater rate of success than those set up by any other age group. You have the skills – but make sure there is a market for your product or services before investing your time or money. Organisations such as PRIME have fabulous free resources and seminars available to those over 50 wanting to start a business – many are free. You will also find many useful articles in our ‘Business’ category, including this useful checklist if you are just starting to plan a new business as well as ideas as to how to fund your new business.
Understand what your financial position is.
There are some in- depth practical points to consider here, but it really is important to understand exactly where you stand. As well as reviewing your regular monthly expenditure, one aspect often overlooked is where you may have been covered for various insurances such as health and life while in employment, you may need to revisit these now to organise private cover.