Saturday, December 22, 2012

Job Hunting When You're Over Fifty

Employment Exhibition
Employment Exhibition (Photo credit: Modern_Language_Center)
Although facing joblessness at any age is a challenge, seniors appear to be one of the groups hardest hit by the unemployment crisis. A government report has shown that 55% of jobless seniors had been out of work for six months or more, and many will dip into their savings or retirement funds in order to survive during this time. Although employers can't discriminate against you based on age, there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to searching for a new role.

Consider part-time

You may be used to working a nine to five routine, but if it's a choice between having reduced hours or no hours, going part-time is certainly something to consider. With companies facing budget cuts, many of them are looking for skilled workers but may only be able to offer you part-time hours or a short-term contract. However, there are advantages to this kind of arrangement. Firstly, it means you can spend your spare time looking for something more permanent, or even doing some study to refresh your skills. It also means you'll avoid the dreaded resume gap which employers can find off-putting, meaning your situation is less likely to be long-term. Also, you should consider the impact on your finances. Working shorter hours means you might not be able to keep putting money away for retirement, but it also means you're less likely to dip into your savings to cover everyday expenses. Staying employed is also important for older people who aren't yet eligible for Medicare, as you will need to consider the impact that unemployment will have on your healthcare plan.

Staying open minded

Many seniors who find themselves out of work have much to offer an employer, and many of the older generation worked for years at the same company. However, you may find that your old career has become very competitive, is obsolete, or nobody is hiring for the roles anymore. It may be time to consider different jobs in your field, and what transferable skills you have. Despite high unemployment, there are many jobs that are still in demand, and you may already have the qualifications and experience required for them. For example, many older workers often go into teaching or training the next generation, and with your years of experience you could be an excellent mentor. If your change in career involves a pay cut, then see a financial adviser about your options. It may be the right time to downsize your lifestyle, look at semi-retirement, or even do some consulting work to top-up your income. You may not be keen on the idea of taking a less prestigious job, but it can often work out well in the long-term.

Using your contacts

If you've worked in your field for the past few decades, then you've probably built up a list of contacts that a recent graduate would kill for. Don't be afraid to use them, and make sure you put the feelers out as soon as you face unemployment. Although your contacts might not know of any positions now, something could come up in the near future. Waiting until you're out of work to start job hunting means that you could be facing a longer stretch of joblessness, putting a strain on your finances. Although your contacts are unlikely to have an amazing permanent position waiting for you, they may have some contract or consultancy work available, and your years of building up contacts could certainly lead to something exciting.

Have a positive attitude

One of the most important things for seniors to do when job hunting is to have a positive attitude about the changes in their life. You may have thought you'd be with your old company forever and perhaps be mourning your old job, but change is often good for people, and this is the time to look at things like finances as you start anew. Many senior workers get disgruntled when faced with the prospect of working under less experienced people, but try not to despair. You may enjoy working in a less stressful environment as you age, and you might find yourself with more spare time for family and hobbies. Keeping a positive attitude means that you'll find it easier to try new things and be open to new experiences, hopefully minimizing the time you spend out of work.

Being an older job seeker doesn't mean you're on the scrap heap. Although you may find it a struggle to match the job you had before, it might be a good time to try new things and see where life takes you. With the right financial advice, you can explore a range of options, and decide what's best for you and your family's future.

1 comment:

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