Post-Corona Job Search Tips for 50 Somethings
Mature job seekers take note of our Post-Corona Job Search Tips for 50 Somethings
I wrote a post in 2009 and have updated it with post-corona job search tips for 50 somethings . How much has changed? How much stays the same?
COVID19 discriminates. One of its greatest achievements has been to highlight deep fractures in our flawed organisations and cultures around race, gender, social status and privilege. The final and most significant one is one of the biggest biases of all: ageism in the time of Coronavirus. Sadly, post-corona job search tips for 50 somethings are going to be necessary.
Post-Corona Update: One of the underlying arguments is that older people are more vulnerable to the virus than the young. At some point, we have to mitigate risk to allow our economies to open. There are a whole range of positions on this and only you know where you sit on the spectrum, especially if you have an underlying vulnerability.
However, I am starting to hear concerns from people as young as 40, who fear discrimination, as organisations take damage limitation measures as we ease out of lockdown.
If you think that you could do with help, but are in a younger age bracket, try this 3Plus article: 10 ways to create a post-pandemic career safety net.
Post Corona Job Search Tips for 50 Somethings
I looked at a post I wrote over ten years ago in the last recession in 2009 to see what might still applicable today. I have updated it to give you some post-corona job search tips for 50 somethings.
50 somethings – A vulnerable group anyway
One of the most vulnerable groups in this, or any other, recession is the 50 somethings. That has not changed. This is not necessarily because they are poor performers, but usually because they are simply more expensive than junior employees. Severing a few senior execs or older employees can make an instant and positive impact on any organisation’s salary bill. Additionally, at this level employees are also costly in terms of perks and benefits, with company cars, phones, laptops, health and pension plans and longer holidays etc, all contributing to reducing a company’s overheads when they no longer work for the organisation.
Post-Corona Update: The current situation means that now older people are physically more vulnerable, especially after the age of 65. However, not all older people have underlying health condition and maybe in better physical shape than younger generations.
If you feel you or the sector you work in will be impacted by the economic fall out of the Coronavirus, don't ignore the red flags and waste time. Start looking at the market now to create a post pandemic safety net.
So what can you do ?
So, whether you’re pushed or decide to take advantage of voluntary early retirement schemes, there are lots of things to take into consideration.
1. Emotional support
The higher you are – the further the fall. Losing your job is hard for anyone, but being displaced from near the top of the chronological or professional pyramid can be especially tough. Quite often there are angry thoughts about how many years you’ve put in and perhaps how little time you have left in your career. Deal with the anger, grief and anxiety and any perceptions of failure you might have as effectively and as early as possible. All of these challenging emotions will impede your ability to move forward. It’s important to be willing to let go old habits that might be keeping you in a rut.
Post-Corona Update: No change.
2. Set up some coping strategies
A structured daily schedule to support yourself through this difficult time. It might be walking, gym sessions, talking to close friends and family, networking, job search activities, relaxing, sleeping and eating correctly. If you are sleeping erratically or self-medicating with food, alcohol or other substances, then make sure you are seeing a medical professional.
Post-Corona Update: Now, all of these activities may have to be carried out virtually, in line with regulations in your jurisdiction.
3. Take stock
What do you really want to do? List your passions. How do you want to spend the rest of your career – your life? Consider personal development programmes: think about training in another field or updating old skills. What do you want to do?
Post-Corona Update: It has never been easier to get help for free. Tap into that NOW. Check out the 3Plus Career Shop.
4. Update your CV
Many older job seekers have not looked for a job or written a CV for a number of years. It is key to update it in line with current job search developments and presentation techniques, as well as to keep abreast of modern technology in this field.
Try this 3Plus article for How to Add Flair to Your Applications.
This is one age group which I strongly believe benefits from professional career support. You are no longer obliged to state your date of birth, or even the year you graduated on your CV, but most experienced recruiters are savvy enough to work out if you try too much camouflaging. They can count. I am all about owning your age, but factor in that omitting it will get you past ATS where recruiters usually put a year range for graduation. They frequently have to take an additional step to exclude those showing no graduation date at all which many don’t do. Hope that they don't and take advantage of it.
Post-Corona Update: Get professional support. The changes have been so extreme it will be tough to go it alone. CVs now have to be customised towards each opportunity and optimised so they can be easily retrieved by in-house recruiters via their ATS systems.
You have to tell a compelling narrative while making sure your resume is searchable and retrievable. It's the art and science of job search.
5. Identify your transferable skills
Look at the challenges in your life and career, and ask how these can be used in other fields or sectors. You have amazing life and career experiences to call upon, so integrate them into your USP.
Post-Corona Update: No change.
We have specifically-designed sessions: Learn How to Identify Your Transferable Skills.
6. Update your professional skills
It is really important now to be on top of all the latest developments in your field, profession or sector. You may not be fully operational in all of them, but being out of touch with current trends dates you.
Post-Corona Update: This is more important now than ever before. Digital knowledge and confidence is supremely important as we move to a virtual workplace. You will struggle without these skills
7. Interim assignments
50 somethings are quite often attracted to interim assignments, although this is a sphere that is challenging to break into because the Catch-22 applies that previous experience is quite often required. Yet this remains an ideal sector for candidates who are nationally or internationally mobile and have had experience of hitting the ground running as project managers during their careers. This is where a focus on transferable skills is key.
Post-Corona Update: Some of these roles may be run remotely now. Make sure that you are au fait with remote working technology platforms and all the tech associated with it. International travel will be complicated in the near future, but companies are still hiring and onboarding remotely, so don't write it off.
Now is the time to really tap into your network. All those extra miles on the tyres mean lots more contacts on the Rolodex, which is a huge bonus. Maximise those connections. Make sure you attend all professional and alumni events. Sign-up for newsletters.
Post corona update: Online networking and use of platforms such as LinkedIn is critical. Many conferences and events are moving online too so keep an eye out and sign-up. Extend your online reach and arrange virtual coffees.
In locations where you can go out, try socially distancing "netwalking" because cafés and restaurants are closed. What greeting are you going to use? I'm a fan of the "namaste" bow. Decide in advance to avoid awkwardness - but very often that can be a much needed ice-breaker. Giving business cards may now be sensitive.
Strengthen your narrative with our coaching services on using LinkedIn for Career and Business Success.
9. Become familiar with social media
Make sure you have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and any social media pertinent to your field. Start a blog. This is not just about raising your visibility, it’s also about being seen to be current! 50 somethings who dismiss social media and modern technology out of hand, and do so volubly, are immediately indicating that they are not at least in touch with modern trends. As a minimum you need to understand what it is all about and how it functions.
If you reject it, do so from an informed position. It means that you can communicate with the 25 – 45 age group without your eyes glazing over or looking panic-stricken. An older employee rich in traditional skills, but also tuned in to up-to-date technology, is a great combination and brings instant added valued. This is the best possible combo.
Post-Corona Update: This is VITAL. I think there will be fewer in this category than there were 10 years ago but I still come across a odd ones. In addition, you will need to understand platforms such as Instagram and the power of video in networking and recruitment.
Interact on LinkedIn by engaging in the content of your network contacts. It's a good way to raise your visibility.
10. Assess your image
Now is the time to objectively (and tastefully) update your image and make sure your clothes, hair style and general appearance are at least from the 21st century.
Post-Corona Update: No change. See above about wearing clothes for an online interview. It's hard if your hairdresser is closed. I can claim a very dysfunctional relationship with L'Oréal. Zoom offer an option to touch up your appearance. Use it. Trust me.
11. Look after your health
If you look healthy and fit (and hopefully are) you will appear energetic. Make sure you are getting exercise and looking after your well-being. Your complexion, hair condition and general demeanour all convey your inner energy. For more information on keeping healthy, read our 3Plus article on how to work from home and achieve a work/life balance.
Post-Corona Update: This is even more important than it was 10 years ago to look healthy.
There is a strong possibility that everyone in the process might be younger than you. Try not to let this bother you. Don’t assume that because you are older, you know more, or better. Your area of expertise is just in another area. Appearing flexible, current and open will be key factors to emphasise. Try to keep your points of reference relatively recent.
Referring to experiences from 20 or 30 years ago, unless it is of specific value, dates you. Make sure you have a good general knowledge of recent national and international events plus general cultural developments. If you don’t know what an iPad is, you might be in trouble. Avoid using expressions that are self-deprecating around age (e.g. calling out a "senior moment") or expressions from previous eras that may no longer be current.
Post-Corona Update: This has changed a lot as interviews become virtual. Make sure you understand Automated interviews and how to handle any other online interview. Clothes are vital. Tops and bottoms. The scene below may well be consigned to the history books.
Remember to ask if the company is following health and safety protocols relating to making workplaces safe post Corona. This is important if you have an underlying vulnerability.
Older employees are sometimes less tied to specific geographic areas because of young families etc. If you are able to extend your job search net wider, so much the better. Being mobile is a great asset.
Post-Corona Update: When borders open this can be useful. As already mentioned, companies are hiring and on-boarding remotely.
Not-for-Profit organisations are happy to have senior level volunteers. This is always helpful for networking, refreshing old skills or learning new ones. You can read about our Administration Manager, Nicola Jesse's first-hand volunteering experience HERE.
Post-Corona Update: Many opportunities have been impacted by social distancing measures. But keep checking. Situations change on a daily basis and there are even opportunities to volunteer online. Some organisations offer remote volunteering such as teaching kids to read via initiatives linked to the COVID gap. Check out your local press.
15. Become an Expert
Offering pro-bono consulting services is another way of raising your visibility and show casing your area of expertise. Write a blog or articles for your local newspaper or your professional newsletter, or sites such as Medium, which also increases you visibility. Set up a web-site. You have a lot to offer. There are certain areas where "Village Elder" experience is invaluable.
Post-Corona Update: No change. In fact if anything during the Corona crisis this has increased. Many people are offering free services. Join in.
16. Anti-social hours
Consider working hours that younger workers with families won’t/can’t work.
Post-Corona Update: No change.
17. Is this the time to be self-employed?
With your wealth of experience could you start-up your own business, or join forces with someone else with complementary skills?
Post-Corona Update: You might have no choice. People are suggesting that even more employees will be self-employed and part of the gig economy. Think outside the box and embrace the moment. It is easier than ever.
18. Be willing to change tactics
A criticism of this demographic is that it struggles with responding to change fast enough. I get messages every day saying "I’ve sent out 20 CVs with no response" or "attended x interviews with no feedback". There is a clear message here that what you’re doing is not working, and it might have nothing to do with your age. Review your strategy regularly. See a professional if you need to. But don’t wait too long. You’re not getting younger!
Post-Corona Update: Add remote work to your list of target sectors. This would be ideal especially if you have an underlying vulnerability.
Some companies value expertise and experience. I hope you find them!
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