Article by Ceri Wheeldon
2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. The workplace has changed dramatically. Those who are not key workers have mostly adjusted to working from home or have been furloughed. As we ease out of lockdown the future for many is uncertain. Will working remotely become the norm – in spite of the government encouraging us to return to traditional workplaces, or will our jobs even exist in a few months time?
The government has announced various job creation schemes for younger workers – but no mention has been made of similar schemes for those at the later stages of their working lives.
Caught in the situation comprising a shrinking job market, decrease in private pension values and the increase in the age at which you are eligible for state a pension.
With it being said that it could take 5 years for the economy to recover, most of us in our 50s and beyond do not have the luxury of trading water for the next 5 years until we can get our careers back on track.
If you are at risk of redundancy, how do you prepare yourself to find a new role in these difficult times?
While many companies are forecasting redundancies – others are still hiring. Sectors such as hospitality, aviation and high street retailers have been hard hit by the pandemic. Others have seen more demand – with people working from home there has been an increase in demand in home office equipment and stationery, and with families spending more time in their homes and gardens that ever before there is an increase in DIY and garden design. There are opportunities to consult to help businesses become ‘covid safe’ and help workers adjust to new ways of working.
Understanding your marketable skills
Before you start to send out your CV you really do have to understand what your skills are, how current they are, and which have the greatest marketability. You need to be completely honest if you are to be successful in your job search.
How easy is it for you to transfer your skills to another sector or industry?
List everything – what is it that creates your value for an employer? Your skills, your contacts, your industry knowledge?
If you want some help to do this I have put together a comprehensive guide and workbook to help you to best break down your skills and understand your marketability. It is part of the MidLife MOT Programme but I have now made the careers module available separately so that you don’t have to buy the whole programme. There is a comprehensive video and workbook to guide you through your skills and marketability assessment. The careers module also includes a section on setting up a business. For example, now may be the time to consider working as a freelancer – your skills might not be in demand in respect to full-time employment, but perhaps several smaller companies can utilise them on a part-time basis. I know fitness instructors who have started delivering classes online instead of in person – limitations as a result of lockdown have also created opportunities.
Please , do be clear on your understanding of your skills before you even think about putting together a cv. I once took part in an initiative organised by the Times newspaper where we took a number of unemployed individuals over 50 to understand why they were failing in their job search – and then put together individual programmes to help them get back on track. Most had been sending out the same CV, in some instances for hundreds of different roles , without understanding their skills and which were relevant to the jobs they were applying for. This resulted in rejection after rejection and a loss of confidence, not to mention many wasted months.
Why is this a topic I am passionate about? I realise that most of you know me as the editor of Fab after Fifty, but I have also had a long career as a headhunter, recruiting key personnel for corporates not only in the UK, but also in Canada, across Europe, and even Japan. I understand what companies look for when recruiting individuals, and how individuals can best plan and prepare for their job search and best present themselves for every opportunity.
The job market is going to become increasingly competitive. You have to maximise your potential to succeed at every stage of every opportunity you apply for.
Understanding your skills is just the first step.
There are many articles here on Fab after Fifty to help with your job search.
I have been asked if I offer one on one jobsearch coaching. Currently I am able to work with a small number of jobseekers on an individual basis – please email me if interested at firstname.lastname@example.org