Matthew Tukaki is the co-host of the Second Career, Talking LIfestyle, radio show with David Prior across the 2UE network, one of Australia's largest radio networks
It’s a pretty confronting thing that as you get older far from being excited about the prospect of retirement you are worried about whether or not you will have a job next week. Unfortunately this is the reality confronting many older workers as the way we work and how we work changes. In countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United States the downturn in the manufacturing sector has seen tens of thousands of workers retrenched in recent years who then find it difficult to secure a new job. The other reality confronting many older workers is the heed to continue working past the conventional retirement ages of 65 or 70. This is because the cost of living has been growing but wage growth for some roles hasn’t necessarily been keeping pace.
That said, there are jobs and roles out there for older workers you just need to know where to look and change your approach to finding and securing them. This is my advice to older workers:
1.Make a list of all the things you do that count as work experience – sit down with a blank piece of paper and list out all of the things you have done in terms of skills and on the job experience over the life of your career – this includes the skills you learnt at the very outset not just the skills you currently use. What you will find by undertaking this exercise is that sometimes the skills you thought were irrelevant may be just what a future employer is after. The other reason for doing this is it begins to show you just how deep your skill set goes.
2.Think about what you really want to do next and put that down as your prime focus - You can choose to work to live or live to work. Living to work for me means following your passion – that thing you want to do that aligns with where you are in life. Living to work for me means getting up in the morning to do something you don’t really want to do but it pays the bills. The truth for most of us is somewhere between these two realities. That said, start off with putting down what you want to do followed by what you may need to do. Essentially this is because you job search needs to be focussed and therefore how you present yourself to a prospective will be key
3.Networking is power - very few of us take advantage of our networks – in fact many of us don’t even recognise them as networks – we see everyone more as mates or work mates. The fact is, over the life of our careers, we build networks that can be key to success when job hunting because I am here to tall you that 90% of the time your next job will come from within your network. So, once you have written down your skill set and identified where your passion is or what you would like to do list down the top ten or twenty people in your network – then list who they work for and what they do – this is called network and skills alignment
4.The reach-out – this is when you start to reach out to your network and say “hey, I’m in the market and looking for a new role. I know you do or know such and such or so on and I thought I could be a perfect fit – can I flick my resume on to you? Reaching out sets the scene for the fact you could be a great fit for that business or organisation and that you are available. If the person you know in your network isn’t the right person then ask them to refer you on – there is never harm in asking
5.The art of the resume – resumes should always reflect what you have done and what you know aligned with the job you are applying for. Never send the same resume in to a 100 different jobs – take the time to make sure the resume speaks to a specific job you are applying for because the way you present will stand out when a prospective employer looks at it. Wherever possible try and keep a resume to 3 pages or less – I know, it’s hard to do. But, where the power in the resume lies is in the cover letter. Try and tell your story in one page or less as if you are writing a brief autobiography for yourself. Why? Because when someone picks up a resume and all of a sudden has a story to read as the front page then they will know more about you than just reading another boring resume – more to the point, they may connect with you because what you have written resonates.
My final bit of advice is basically not to get despondent – there are jobs out there you just need to think outside the box when securing one. Also, think honestly about what you want to do and where possible if you can find a job that works in with your passion and where you want to be in terms of lifestyle then go for it.
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