What do you do when you when you need to find a job? One of the plights many women find themselves in is that they are suddenly single at midlife and need a job. This can be compounded if they’ve been out of the workforce for a significant period of time, and compounded further if they’ve never worked. Some might have helped an ex-husband get through school, then build and run a business, others ran households and took care of kids while husbands did the bulk of the earning, and others worked from home in low-earning jobs that made the available to take care of the family as needed. No matter the specifics of your situation, what you likely know is that for most women, finding employment at midlife is not easy. But don’t despair—here are some tried and true tips that will help you find a job after 50.
Tips for Finding a Job After 50
Before we get started, here’s the good news. The unemployment rates for those over 50 looking for jobs has lowered. What does this mean for you? It means that companies are realizing the value in our midlife group. We know it is still a scary prospect, so take a seat and take some notes and let’s find you a job.
Marketable Skills. You might feel like you don’t have any marketable skills, but that is never true. Sit down with a piece of paper and think about the plethora of skills, not to mention extreme organizational skills, diplomacy, and tact, it has taken to run your home, pay the bills, volunteer, and anything else you might have done. All of these things can translate into skills that can lead you to various jobs. Start your process by making a list of these skills and every time you think of something else, add it to that list.
Interests. Finding a job is not just about the skills you have, but it’s also about your interests. Sit down and make a list of all your interests. If you love pets, you’d be a perfect receptionist at a veterinary office. If you are crazy (and knowledgeable) about art, explore working at the museum or an art gallery. If you’re great with people, a customer service job could be perfect for you. Knowing your interests will help you to search in a direct way.
Tap into your network. Most women don’t want to ask for help, but you would be surprised how many people will help you out if you just ask. Ask your friends, acquaintances, and even your social media friends if they know anyone who is hiring or if they need help with their businesses. It is always easier to get hired by a personal recommendation or by someone you already know.
Use a placement agency. A placement agency can do many things for you. They can help with your resume, they can help figure out what job is best for you, and most importantly they can set you up on interviews.
Put together a resume. Creating a resume is something that can be scary if you haven’t had a job in year—or ever. That’s also where letting your fingers do the walking on the internet can be of great assistance. There are companies that offer resume building services, like Resume-Now and Resume Genius. There are writers on Fiverr who specialize in writing resumes and cover letters, and once you start looking, you’ll find there are a plethora of options to help you get going on your resume.
Research and use job websites. There are a ton of sites you can use to help find available positions both in your area and those that allow remote work. Some of the most well-known and trusted sites include ZipRecruiter, Indeed, Career Builder, and even Craigslist. Don’t focus on 50-friendly prospective employers, focus on finding the position that’s the best match for your skill set.
Prove your worth. If you’ve got an opportunity and someone is on the fence about hiring you, suggest that they allow you to prove yourself. Suggest a temporary position for sixty days with a chance for you both to evaluate things at the end of that time. That takes the pressure off of both an employer and an employee, and can help pave the way for a “yes” quicker than you might think.
Join networking groups. The best advice about building a network is to build it before you need it. While that might not have been the strategy you’ve employed thus far, it’s never too late. Look for local networking groups—the Chamber of Commerce, women’s networking groups, small business networking groups, you name it, they are out there, just waiting for you to crash the party! It may seem awkward at first, but it can’t be any worse than a first date with some buy you met on Match. Get out there, meet people, shake hands, it’ll get less awkward all the time—and it’ll pay off in spades.
Get your butt on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the biggest business social network there is. Get your resume up-to-date, then write a killer profile for use on LinkedIn. Then actually USE the social network. Go there daily, make connections, share content, comment on content shared by others, join groups that are relevant to your interests. If you need help writing that killer profile, there are lots of resources out there, and freelancers you can hire to help.
Fake it till you make it. Job hunting is hard. Recreating yourself is hard. But you’ve probably done things that were a lot more difficult and look at how awesome you ended up—you’ve got this! Confidence is the name of the game when it comes to the job search, so stand up, square up those shoulders, get your game face on and fake it ‘till you make it, sister. This is nothing. And anybody who hires you is doing to be damn glad they did. You know that.
Being on a job search at midlife might not be where you thought you’d end up, but as I mentioned earlier, chances are good you’ve gone through other situations much more difficult than looking for a job. Resolve to learn as much as you can, use the many tools at your disposal, ask friends for help, and have confidence in yourself. If you think you can, you will, and this is definitely something you can master.