How to make yourself employable in your 50s and beyond 


There is an assumption among certain people that once an individual reaches their 50s, they automatically start considering retirement, and their career somehow becomes less important to them as a result. In reality, this is a misconception for a whole variety of reasons.
A lot of people need to continue working and advancing themselves professionally in order to support themselves financially and prepare to meet their ambitions in retirement. At the same time, a significant proportion of the workforce find this period of their lives to be the most rewarding from a professional point of view as it represents a time in which they are at their most experienced. Smart employers understand this and recognize just how much people in their 50s, and beyond, have to offer.
Why is it so hard for this age group to find employment?
Many people, even those who have had enormously successful careers and have developed excellent skills and experience, find that the job market becomes an immensely frustrating and disappointing place once they pass their 50th birthday. This is primarily an issue of perception, as prospective employers can have a mental barrier against offering a role to someone older than them. While this attitude is extremely dubious from a moral and even legal point of view, it is widely recognized as a blocker for people in this age group. The lack of internships or work experience opportunities available to older people is a clear demonstration of this reality.
How can someone over the age of 50 improve their chances of employment?
Here are some things that people over the age of 50 can do to counteract this unhelpful perception:

  • Keep their CV fresh. Present their experiences and achievements, which should compare favorably to a younger candidate, in a detailed but concise way.
  • Know their strengths. Be prepared to sell themselves with confidence by backing up every strength with an example of how this has been applied practically.
  • Exploit their network. A lifetime in the world of work should have provided them with a roster of people who they can contact to explore employment opportunities. Check out Jezri Mohideen on LinkedIn to see a great example of how online professional networks can be used.

As for the best types of jobs to look for, this very much depends on the individual, their preferences, skills, goals and ambitions. One increasingly popular route is self-employment as the appeal of being one’s own boss is significant. This requires a great deal of effort and a certain amount of risk, so it should be considered carefully.
A beginning, not an end
People in their 50s are usually in a fairly enviable position from a professional point of view. They often enjoy a significant life experience combined with relatively fewer financial commitments. As a result, they have the opportunity to explore areas of interest that may previously have seemed somehow out of reach. It is important for individuals to present themselves in the most employable way possible in order to fully exploit this opportunity.