Many women over 40 seeking a new job may understandably have some doubts about the chances of success. Will I be hired if they work out my age? What do I have to offer that someone younger doesn’t? What careers are there for women my age? However, we can actually use our maturity and experience to our advantage. It’s never too late for a career transition so conquer and banish all fears about being ‘past it’ just because you’re over 40. Simply refuse to entertain such a mindset and ooze inner confidence and ability instead.
..ensure CVs use the latest jargon and drop anything that has lost currency
Draw inspiration from all those who only ‘made it’ in later life and who credit their earlier experiences as being instrumental in equipping them for the role they (eventually) found success in.
However, do not confuse confidence with complacency. Be sure not to fossilise: ensure CVs use the latest jargon and drop anything that has lost currency. In some industries the lingo moves on quickly so it’s pointless to use old terminology which is obselete.
Here are a few tips for using your maturity as a woman over 40 to stand out in the job market:
- Ensure solid awareness of track record, key strengths, career highlights, and sectors where you’re most likely to create interest.
- Produce a relevant, high-quality CV – get help to achieve this.
- Research the ‘way in’ to potential employers. Receptionists are only a phone call away and they’re usually very willing to provide information and help.
- Telephone potential leads first so as not to send a CV ‘cold’.
- Use a career guide who will offer an objective and professional viewpoint, helping to identify jobs suited to your skill set, interests, background and future vision. They will assist in focusing on the target, as opposed to using a ‘scattergun’ approach by pursing too many options simultaneously. Women are increasingly turning to guides to ignite their careers.
- If you don’t have the time or finances for a career guide, consider using reading material for information and inspiration. There are plenty of affordable careers guidance books on the market and an increasing number of them, such as Position Ignition’s ‘How to Get the Job You Want’ are in convienient eBook format.
- Become familiar with and use online tools like LinkedIn .
- Get networking-tell the world what you are doing and want to do. In accordance with the ‘six degrees of separation’ model, you’re bound to be directly or indirectly connected to someone who can help you make things happen.
- Attend meetings of relevant institutes and have some business cards ready to hand out. Exchange them with anyone who offers you theirs and be proactive in passing them to those you talk with.
If you’re planning to change careers altogether, it’s important to be realistic. Possible routes in to careers for women in their 40s could be via consultancy or pro bono work for a contact within your chosen field. Thoroughly consider your personal position from all relevant angles. Assess your financial situation and other practicalities you’ll have to account for. Be sure you’re not viewing a certain career through rose tinted glasses; talk to those already doing it, research it widely, and develop a genuine passion for it that’s so absolute it’s almost tangible. You will need to completely believe in the goal to ensure others will do too!
It all comes back to belief and confidence. If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t, you won’t. Whatever your hopes and challenges, embrace your maturity and experience and future employers will appreciate them as advantages too.
Nisa Chitakasem is the co-founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. Nisa is passionate about helping individuals find the right career path for them whether it involves finding a more rewarding career, making a career change, figuring out the right career plan or being creative about career directions.
Find out more about Position Ignition here