This is a tough time for job security and that’s for sure. Being made redundant at any age is a difficult thing to deal with, but when you’re just that little bit older it suddenly seems as though there’s a much bigger mountain to climb. It’s not impossible though, we’ve come up with a list of top tips to ensure you can cope with the difficult stuff and continue turning over a decent wage well into your old age.
- A bit of positive thinking
- Make some quick cash
- Update your CV
- Consider consultancy work
- Try something new
- Get networking
1. Follow our plan
First things first – if you’re made redundant there are a few things you can do straight away. Read our Redundancy Action Plan for all the help you’ll need. It will tell you what to do before you leave the office with your belongings in a box, and exactly what you’re entitled to.
Experience – if you’re over 50 then chances are you have a long and distinguished career behind you already. You’ll have a wealth of extensive experience that no graduate could ever hope to match.
Contacts – you will also have built up a network of invaluable contacts within your profession; a huge plus for your future employer.
Adaptability – it sounds unlikely, but older people are often more able to cope with an adapting work place. You’ll be accustomed to changing procedures, techniques and technology, and you’ll have learned to change with them.
A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council in Cambridge for the Channel 4 Dispatches programme concluded that older brains actually adapt exceptionally well and in some cases may even become stronger and more active than those of younger individuals.
So there you have it: youth and talent are no match for age and experience. And if you still need more cheering up, read our 50 Reasons to be Cheerful – guaranteed to put a smile on your face whatever your age.
While you’re looking for another job we’ve got loads of ways for you to make a bit of extra cash on the side to tide you over.
Have a look at 10 easy ways to make quick cash – one of our most popular articles. And for even more ideas, browse your way through our make money section and you’re bound to find something that appeals.
We’ve got some great quick moneymakers especially for the older generation including everything from house sitting to cashing in on your favourite hobby – talk about easy money!
4. Save it!
You might as well make the most of any money you do make, so get it into a high interest savings account (well, not too low anyway) as soon as you can. The best rates you’ll be able to get at the moment are for regular savings accounts.
Regular savers are a good option because you only have to put a little away each month (£20 is usually the minimum) and you’ll make a decent return on your cash compared to the other dismal accounts out there at the moment.
If you’re worried about where to put your money in the current crisis, read our Golden Rules for Safer Savings to help you decide.
Why not take this opportunity to make a spangly new CV to impress potential employers with? It might be a while since you’ve updated yours and you should seriously consider doing so.
A great thing to do is to send your CV as pdf file. Not only will it look more professional and slick, it will show off your technical expertise. Try using free converters like Doc2pdf to easily convert your existing text CV.
Remember that you don’t have to make a direct reference to your age in your CV. You’ve got a wealth of experience on your side, so it’s important you highlight that.
6. Keep up with the young ‘uns
While the kids are still playing with MySpace and Facebook, make sure you get involved with social networking for grown-ups. Sites like Linkedin.com and Twitter help you stay in touch with other professionals of all ages and illustrate that you’re no technophobe. Linkedin also has specific sections for getting work and finding job opportunities. Your connections can recommend you for posts and let you know about jobs coming up.
Typing skills are also a major bonus. Test yourself online at sites like Typing Test and aim for 50-80wpm to compete with the nimble-fingered youth of today.
If you have significant experience in your profession, why not farm your knowledge and skills out? From gardening to tax advice, PR to publishing, in theory you can become a consultant in anything.
The New Life Network is also worth a look, it has a whole section dedicated to redundancy and helping you find a new position. Or you can get in touch with Businesslink to find out what opportunities they know of for consultants with your experience.
Perhaps this is the opportunity you needed to start up a business you’ve always dreamed of running. Obviously you need to be sensible and have a realistic idea, but this is your chance to be adventurous.
It seems like now isn’t really the time to do it, but actually if you’ve got a really good idea and some soild plans it could be the perfect time. For loads of handy information to get you started, have a look at our 20 top tips for running your own business and read our Tough tactics for tough times article.
9. Remember it’s never too late to learn
If you don’t want all the responsibility of running your own business, you could still think about starting on a whole new career path. We’ve got a great article about boosting your job prospects for free. It’ll tell you where you can go for free online courses and how to listen to university lectures from the very best universities in the world like Oxford and Harvard.
10. New Deal 50 Plus
If you are really struggling to get employment of any sort, you could try out the Jobcentreplus scheme: New Deal 50 Plus. You will have to have been on at least one of the following benefits for six months to be eligible:
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Pension Credit
You’ll receive loads of help from a personal adviser who will help you make a plan of action. They can recommend training, further learning, work experience and ultimately help you find a new job.
In some areas, there’s also something called the Flexible New Deal which has replaced the New Deal 50 Plus. Under this scheme you need to have been claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance for 12 months (or six months in some cases), and you can get help to find a job or to get training or work experience that will help you find a job. For a full list of where the Flexible New Deal operates, check out the Flexible New Deal pages on the Gov.UK website.
If you think you do qualify for the scheme and you want find out more, have a look at the Gov.UK website for information and to find your local Jobcentreplus.
11. Look out for age discrimination
Despite employment laws proscribing against age discrimination, mature men and woman can still find their way to top jobs barred by young, ambitious whiz-kids.
If you think you have experienced age discrimination when applying for new jobs or from your previous employer have a look at the AgeUK website. It has a whole section dedicated to age discrimination law and your rights, and is a great resource for guidance on making a complaint.
Only a very small percentage of jobs are advertised. The vast majority are found through word-of-mouth and personal connections. Get out there and get networking to make contacts and massively increase your chance of finding another job.
If you have set up your own business join the Institute of Directors which has regular networking events and help for business people. Get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce to join up and attend networking events. Speak to your local Business Link to find out what networking groups they know of in your area.
Get out there and make sure you have a handy business card and a friendly attitude. You never know what a chance meeting with an interesting person can lead to!