Article by Ceri Wheeldon
With many women finding their retirement plans on hold due to the increase in state pension age, how do women ensure that they have the skills to be employable over 50 and 60?
Firstly you need to evaluate the skills and resources, based on your past experience that you can bring to a potential employer, or turn into a business opportunity.
If looking for paid employment
Sit down and list the skills and strengths that you believe would have a value:
Sales abilities (do you have a track record in the workplace or have you had success in a voluntary capacity at fundraising events)
Organisational skills . Experience of managing a family, or PTA or charity events may all highlight your abilities
Computer literacy..how familiar are you with the latest applications used in business. How quickly can you bring yourself up to speed? There are lots of free or inexpensive tutorials online – YouTube can be a terrific source of tutorials.
Social Media..if you love spending time online and spend time on twitter, facebook, pinterest, instagram etc, could you potentially manage social media activity on behalf of a company?
Other skills and abilities could include:
Ask friends and former colleagues what they believe your skills are…I know that when I posed this question to former colleagues I was surprised by the answers!
Also, do not think of your age as a barrier to employment…there are many advantages you are able to offer an employer.
The one thing I do strongly believe we need to take accountability for is our health. You may not be the youngest person attending interview but you can certainly present yourself as the most confident, positive and healthiest one. Look to see what changes you might need to make to your diet and exercise routine. Nobody is suggesting dashing out to join a gym, but even small changes like a daily walk or weekly dance fitness class can make a difference.
I have put together a whole series of articles to help in your job search.
10 articles to help women over 50 with their jobsearch
Setting up your own business
Women in their 50s and 60s are setting up businesses in increasing numbers. Be realistic about the viability of the business…can it make money, is it a business that will simply fund your current lifestyle or are you looking to build a business you can sell on?
Do you have all the skills you need to make your business a success or will you need to bring in others to plug any gaps?
Again, we have lots of resources and checklists to help support you …here are some links to just a few articles.
Whether you are looking for employment, or looking to establish business connections, get out there and meet people. Network formally and informally. Always have a business card with you – even if you are looking for a job…you may not want to carry your CV with you everywhere you go, but a simple business card with contact details , a job title (of the role you want to get!) and the web address of your linkedin profile is far easier to hand out.
Women over 50 have a tremendous amount of value to add the workplace …be confident and positive and harness your energy in the right direction.