In this tough economy, even retirement isn’t a sure thing. More and more people over the age of 60 are returning to the workforce in search of brighter horizons and a steady paycheck. In both the UK and US, the numbers of people over the age of 65 re-entering the workforce are steadily climbing. However, this is a largely positive development – according to government research, 913,000 people in the post-retirement age-range were still “economically active” and it was suggested by a senior British governmental aide, David Halpern, that returning to work was as beneficial to a elderly person’s health as quitting smoking. The science he used to determine this assertion is as yet unclear but the broad swathe of his point that the regular human contact required by a job reduced loneliness to such an extent that it was “a more powerful predictor” of a person’s longevity than their physical condition.
Lucky then that the fountain of youth has been located in gainful employment as it also has monetary compensations. This is especially useful as the cost of medical care and rent is rising faster than the rate of pensions and re-entering the workforce is often the best way of keeping a measure of financial security. So what are the options for people wanting to re-enter the workforce in later life?
Evaluating Your Skills & Not Apologising For Your Experience
The first and most logical step is to look at what you did before you retired and evaluate your employable skills. Perhaps it is not possible to return to the job at which you were employed in your previous working life but the skills you have learnt across your career still carry weight. It’s important that you write a resume that doesn’t apologise for your age and shows a person confident in themselves and their abilities. Going back to work after a gap in your employment can be enormously stressful and it can sometimes be the case that older people play down their abilities so as not to appear overconfident or arrogant. However, this anxiety is misplaced – the job market is especially competitive right now but your experience is an asset and it is crucial that you don’t undersell yourself.
Writing a Resume & Building Your Skills
When writing your CV, try and think in the abstract about the kind of skill set your work experience has built for you. Stressing your communication, leadership skills and ability to handle a crisis can be a useful place to start when drafting that all important self-summary. However it is equally important to be honest with yourself about any gaps in your experience and to work out how to acquire the skills you’re going to need .
If you haven’t had a job that directly provided the sort of experience that you feel is required, then there are lot of ways you can bolster your resume, especially with volunteer work. If you look for a charity job for a cause you feel passionate about, puts you in touch with the community and teaches you a new skill, then the search for paid work becomes a lot less of a grind. Retail is an ideal place to pursue a job that is engaging without being too physically demanding. Most charity shops are crying out for volunteers and the beauty of this kind of work is that you can have more control of the number of hours you are willing to work. This means that if you have been out of the workforce for a while then you can rebuild your stamina and test out exactly the kind of work you’re willing and able to do.
Using A Computer With Confidence
This may not be a problem for you as you have the exquisite taste to be reading this blog already, but for a lot of older people, a lack of computing skills is a real anxiety. There are, however, plenty of ways to build up some confidence, particularly when it comes to using the Microsoft Office Suite for word processing and making spreadsheets. Make sure you make full use of your local library which will undoubtedly run a course in computing skills and should help give a sense of what your strengths and weaknesses are. It also allows you to work alongside an instructor who will be able to guide you through the process and answer any questions. There are plenty of paid instructional courses but be wary of handing over money when there are plenty of programs that offer tuition for free. Again, even if your local library does not run a course, it should be able to point you in the direction of an organisation that does. Repetition of any new skills is key, so make sure that once you are fairly confident in your abilities that you make it your business to remain actively engaged with the work you want to be doing. Good luck.
Regina Burrows is a writer for Third Sector, a job coach and motivational speaker.