Dont Have A Midlife Career Crisis

by | 18.02.21

Being made redundant is hugely stressful and very emotional. Being let go from a long term employer in your 50s can be devastating. Receiving your P45 in the post will give you shivers and no matter how much former colleagues, friends and family reassure you that with your experience you won’t be unemployed for long you will have serious doubts. What you need to do now though is dig deep and find some confidence. Your skill set will be transferable but what you need to do is get off the sofa, give up daytime TV and start looking for a job. Here is some advise:

Accept that recruitment has changed

Years ago you saw a job being advertised, you telephoned the employer, made yourself an interview and hopefully got yourself a job offer. Now days it is very different. Firstly you need an up to date CV , a Linkedin profile, you also need to sign up for job alerts and begin to network in earnest. Many employers nowadays use Recruitment Agencies so get you name down with some in your local area or in your specialist field of work.

Be realistic there is a pandemic going on

It is unlikely at the moment that you are just going to walk into a job. The pandemic has caused an unprecedented economic downturn which has resulted in the highest rates  of unemployment in decades. So be prepared to work really hard to find employment, but don’t give up on getting a job. Employers are still recruiting, even in lockdown, there are just not the volume of jobs around that there used to be.

Don’t give up

Employers are receiving three times as many applications for every role than before the pandemic so you need to appreciate you are in a competitive market. Preparation , a strategic approach and most importantly a positive mindset is required. Don’t see your age as a disadvantage to getting a new role. It is essential that you put aside any worries you might have about how old you are. Age brings experience, reliability, wisdom and knowledge. All soft skills which are essential in the workplace.

Focus your job applications

Rather than taking a scatter gun approach to finding a job by firing off your CV right, left and centre, spend time thinking about your motivation for getting a new job. Is it purely financial? Or perhaps its about mental stimulation and professional identity. Do you need flexibility? This is a step by step process. Once you decide what is important to you it is easy to focus your search and apply for jobs that are going to suit your needs moving forward.

Don’t be afraid to change your career

It may be that you really don’t want to do what you’ve been doing for most of your working life. Maybe your career has been compromised making this the perfect time to change direction. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a Teacher or a Police Officer. Have you always hankered to be a Professional Trainer? Perhaps you’ve had a business brainwave and would like to start your own company. Well the time is right for you to be brave. It may mean returning to education in order to obtain the required qualifications to make these changes, it could mean a financial investment from you, but the fact is you have the opportunity to change your career direction if you want to. You may never be in this situation again.

Consider voluntary work in the short term

You are used to routine, you are used to getting up every day and preparing yourself for work so don’t be idle. As well as working hard to find a new job think about doing voluntary work in the short term. There is so much you can gain from volunteering. It will improve your confidence, increase your feeling of self worth and most importantly help people who are in a far worse situation than you. It could be you help with the Covid vaccination programme. It could be helping in a food bank. Maybe you could assist your charity of choice. Believe me others will benefit but you will benefit more by feeling useful, purposeful and most of all wanted.

If you haven’t got a Linkedin profile get one

Now days anyone who is anyone is on Linkedin, it is todays way of networking. It is also a great place to advertise yourself. Make sure when you set up your profile that you attach a photo of yourself as it is a known fact apparently that members with a profile photo have 21 times more views and up to nine times more connection requests then members who don’t have one. Regularly share your opinions and things that interest you, it’s a great way of staying connected to your professional community. Its also a great way to obtain a job so make sure you mentioned you are looking for one and what your skills and experience are

Practice Microsoft Teams and Zoom meeting skills

Now days it is very likely if you are invited for an interview it will be a virtual interview conducted via Microsoft Teams or Zoom. So my advise to you in the first instance is to make sure you download the Teams and Zoom Apps. Next practice using them with a friend or relative so you know what you are doing. I recommend using a background effect so learn how to do this if you can, I can tell you from experience there is nothing worse than interviewing someone who is sat in front of a big pile of ironing. Treat a virtual interview as you would a face to face interview. With a friend find a flattering camera angle. Make sure the technology and wifi is working properly. Also make sure you have your phone off during any interviews and do not have your cat, dog, partner or children in the room. You need to be focused just as you would be if were attending a “proper” interview. So get practicing.

Don’t write yourself off

You are not over the hill. You are not past it. You are a valuable commodity in the workplace. If you think yourself old believe me everyone else will as well. As a mature worker you have more to offer in the workplace than any young person . List the qualities you could bring to an employer and remember to sell them in an interview. If I was to be interviewed for a job now I would be selling the fact that I am experienced, reliable, stable, able to learn new skills, a strong team player, a mentor to younger staff members, capable, objective, fair, committed etc etc. The list is endless. Believe in your yourself and other people will as well. Give up and you may find yourself unemployed for a very long time.

There is no secret to getting a job, you have to believe in yourself first though then its just a case of applying for positions that suitable your skills and experience. But remember you have the opportunity now to re evaluate your career. You may want to continue with what you are doing until you retire, you may be really happy with your work life balance. Equally you may decide that the time is right to downsize your career or to take on a new challenge. It could also be the ideal time for you to change direction altogether and return to education in order to move your career in a completely new direction. Whatever you do decide be confident that you will succeed. Believe in yourself and others will believe in you.

Good Luck

Angela Burton