For a mature woman wanting to return to the workplace, it is a good idea to plan carefully, in order to get the best possible results.
In the UK, with the retirement age having been raised to 65 years in 2011, the latest figures from the Department of Work and Pensions state, ‘employment of workers over the age of 50 has grown significantly during the past decade, with 69.6% of those in the 50 to 64 age group now working (compared with 55.4% 30 years ago)’. These days, it is becoming much more commonplace for women to continue working into maturity, and consequently work-returners have no need to worry about being the odd one out in an environment, which could be dominated by younger people.
Having an idea of the salary you can expect will help you to judge whether or not a particular job is right for you. If you’re striking out because you need the money, you don’t want to toil away for a wage that barely covers your travel and other work related expenses. However, it might be necessary to accept that your first sortie back into business might be a stepping-stone to greater things further down the line, and this would likely be reflected in your salary.
Ensuring your CV or LinkedIn profile gives the best representation of your abilities is important. It’s also a good opportunity to assess whether or not you should upgrade your skills. Using existing expertise and credentials as a pathway to a suitable job will be relevant, but you will need to be at the top of your game if you want to compete with other more experienced applicants. This is particularly important with regard to IT. Even if your job does not involve deskwork as such, there is always the possibility that writing reports and delivering data could arise.
If you would like to return to the last company you worked for, it’s quite OK for you to contact them; especially if you think you would be a ‘good fit’ for a particular vacancy. If not, you can ask if you can be kept in mind for any similar jobs in the future. If you’ve excelled during the period of time you worked with them, they’re likely to want to work with you again.
If you feel your CV is somewhat lacking and perhaps out of date for today’s market, there are a few things you can do to improve the content.
Returnships have been around in the US since 2014 and are now becoming popular in the UK. They are often only short-term posts, providing insights into the necessary skills required for particular jobs. For ‘returners’, this offers the opportunity to look at current job specifications and assess the potential when taking on such a role. Once a returner is working side by side with their more experienced colleagues, they should quickly be able to enlarge upon their knowledge, applying new skills to those they already have.
Those returning to the workplace can be lacking in confidence. A period of time spent working as a ‘returner’, will help to restore all-round self-assurance.
It’s worth noting that ‘returnships’ are not always very well paid, but can be a great pathway to re-entering the workplace.
Taking on a volunteer role will show that you have the time and ability to get involved. If your position correlates to something specifically relatable to your past career and what your aspirations are for future employment, so much the better.
This may sound like something that is only the preserve of younger generations, but this is not the case. Our friends in the workplace, regardless of age, will have the potential to keep you in mind if they hear of vacancies. Make a point of letting friends know you are job seeking and to keep you in mind if they hear of anything that might be of interest to you. If you belong to any clubs or social groups, the same applies.
Once you have secured an interview, ensure you have as much knowledge as possible about the job vacancy and your potential employers background. Take a look at their social media pages for any recent updates and developments within their company; and their industry, generally.
Letting them see that you’re interested in what they are planning for the future, and asking questions, will help them to be more interested in you as an applicant. Their responses will also help you to decide whether they are the right company for you.
Having reliable referees in place is important.
Also worthy of consideration is the distance you’re prepared to travel and how long you want to spend on the journey. Assessing the reliability and regularity of local trains and buses is key.
If you left your previous job to care for children, an elderly relative, or someone disabled, you will need to make it clear to a prospective employer that this is no longer part of your remit.
Look your best, arrive on time for interviews, and be as up to date as possible about the background of the company you’re interested in.
If at first you don’t succeed – keep trying! There are plenty of companies that will want to benefit from your experience and refined skill-set. Eventually, the right opportunity will present itself.
Annie Hunte is the founder of www.premiummaturedating.com