It’s all too common that people in their 50s find themselves out of work as younger and cheaper people “steal their jobs”. However, youth is wasted on the young, as they say – and employers are increasingly recognising that older employees have a lot to offer the workplace. As a result, job hunting in your 50s isn’t the intimidating task that it once was. If you’re looking for a career change, or you’ve been forced into making a move, there is every chance that you’ll be able to find a satisfying and lucrative role that suits your needs. It just may take a while so you also need to manage your finances accordingly.
Job hunting in your 50s is more common than it used to be
People are living longer, the retirement age is rising and many more people find it necessary to work into later life. Plus, thanks to the advantages of modern technology, the range of different roles available is much broader and much more interesting. If you’re job hunting in your 50s then you have a lot more of a market to choose from and you’ll find that you’re not alone – according to the London School of Business and Finance, 43% of employees between the ages of 45 and 54 are looking for new opportunities.
Getting started with job hunting in your 50s
What do you want from your next role? It’s important to start from a position of assuming that you’ll be able to get some, or all, of the things that you want from a new job. You don’t have to take the first one that comes your way. Are you looking for flexible working, the opportunity to learn practical skills or to work abroad, for example?
What can you bring to a new job? We all have different skills and strengths and focusing on yours can help you identify which job you’d be well suited to, as well as helping you to convince an employer that you’re the right person for the job. Perhaps you’re a great negotiator, you have a lot of management experience or niche knowledge in a particular sector of the market.
Are you online? You may or may not be a bit tech-shy in your 50s but, if you’re job hunting, then you need to recognise the advantages of the online world when it comes to finding a new job. Being on LinkedIn, for example, will be essential – it will act as an online CV that will give potential employers an idea of what your skill set is.
Is your CV out of date? If your CV is out of date, or just in a bit of a mess, then now is the ideal time to rewrite and rework it into a really useful document. Start with your most recent experience first and tailor every the CV you send to the role in terms of relevance. Keep your CV concisely written and short in length – even if there is a lot of experience to include – and make sure you check twice for spelling or grammar errors.
Networks are everything. If you’re looking for an exciting new opportunity then remember the power of your established networks when it comes to finding it. Make contact with old colleagues and bosses, clients or customers if it looks like they could give you a helping hand when it comes to tracking down the right role and making introductions.
Social networks can be useful too. Haven’t yet ventured on to Twitter or Instagram? Now could be the perfect time to do it. You can make useful contacts via social networks and attract attention for the content that you post, whether that’s cleverly shot images or smartly written tweets or blogs.
Age is just a number. Often, the success of job hunting in your 50s is defined by the confidence you have in your ability to achieve results. Don’t worry about being older than other potential candidates and instead focus on the benefits this has, from more on the job experience, to better people management skills.
Be flexible. It may be the case that you don’t find the perfect role for you and you might have to accept a compromise for now. Flexibility will get a foot in the door and show your ability to compromise in a positive light.
Broaden your approach. Today, there are many more options when it comes to jobs and you can work in many different ways. It may be worth looking at totally new career options or roles that you may not have considered before. You could also investigate the possibilities of being self-employed and working in the gig economy.
Amanda Gillam is Solution Loans's General Manager and has been since 2009. She is also a prolific writer on personal finance issues, and has been quoted numerous times in articles published on 3rd party websites and in press releases. Her...Read more about Amanda Gillam