Tweaking your skill set to the post-Covid employment world
Much has been written in the past three months about the possibility of serious unemployment and under-employment for over 50s as more and more workers from blue-collar to senior corporates find themselves sacked or made redundant.
Several studies both in Australia, the UK and the US have predicted that unemployment will impact men and women over 50 more than any other age group.
While it is a difficult and challenging time for many, there are strategies you can adopt to help you find work and compete in an overcrowded market.
1) It might seem obvious but review the detail of your skill set. Don't lock yourself into one industry sector. Think broadly about what you are capable of doing and consider what you can offer an employer in terms of "soft" skills as well "hard" skills. "Soft" skills such as advanced organisational expertise, time management and financial literacy are just as important as "10 years experience in retail".
2) When you are clear on the detail of your skill set, match it to as many roles and industry sectors as possible. For example, if you have worked in store front retail, you could apply for any customer service role in any industry, hospitality, a sales role etc. Think broadly about what you could do and don't limit yourself.
NOTE TO WOMEN - I read somewhere the other day that women will only apply for a role if they have 90% of the skills required whereas men will throw their hat into the ring with only 50%. Learn from our male counterparts. Don't be too concerned with matching exactly the job specifications.
3) Your job-seeking portfolio needs to have a number of CVs tailored to various industry sectors. This is not a case where one CV will fit all criteria and you need to spend time individually writing CVs and applications that may leave some of your skills out and emphasise others.
4) Go online and read about key-word placement. This is essential as many applications are now reviewed by AI programs and without key words, yours will not even make the initial cut.
5) Update and keep relevant your LinkedIn profile, another vital tool for helping you connect with potential employers. If you are applying for a role, find out if you are connected to someone else within the company and reach out to them. Use your contacts and don't be ashamed to ask for help. Personal recommendations are often the difference between getting the job and not.
6) Another no brainer - use your down time to learn and upgrade IT skills. There is no excuse for not being efficient and effective in Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as social media - the pros and the cons. Clean up your social media posts if necessary as potential employers may not be impressed if they see images of you partying hard with a glass of champagne at a backyard BBQ - and they will check!
7) Don't become dispirited - it is a tough time for everyone. Seek as much help as you can, take advantage of free days to learn new skills and try to be optimistic every day. There will be jobs available that will suit you but patience and persistence may be necessary to get you to your next role.