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Unemployed At 50? Here’s What You Can Do To Rejoin The Workforce

If you’re (around) 50 and are job-seeking, this article is for you.

At age 50 (or thereabouts) after working as a contributive member of the workforce for about three decades, you suddenly lost your job. Your efforts to find a similar position elsewhere proved futile. Jumping to another industry and starting from scratch seems too daunting. After sending your resume to dozens of places and still not getting a call back, what can you do?

Bad News: Things Have Changed

Let’s get the ‘bad news’ out of the way:

Things have changed.

For some reason, some of which are beyond your control and is not your fault, you are out of a job. Perhaps because of the economic climate, your company or industry have fallen on hard times and had to downsize. Or it could be your job functions have shifted overseas. The job market presently is challenging, and even fresh graduates struggle to find a suitable job.

That’s reality and its okay. Its not your fault.

Read Also: What Are The Different Types of Unemployment?

Good News: Things Will Change

The world is ever-changing. The current speed of change, empowered by technological disruption means that tomorrow holds immense potential for the savvy jobseeker who is willing to adapt.

By doing something today, you will make your chances of success tomorrow better. At such periods of transition, it’s a good time to take stock of your career and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow until you retire.

Read Also: What Is The Difference Between Retirement Age And Re-Employment Age In Singapore?

Gather Your Existing Treasures

Having been around in the workforce, you are sitting on a treasure trove of resources accumulated over decades. You just need to dig them up, polish them, and let them shine! Here are some of the jewels you probably have:

1. Testimonials and Performance Reviews

Gather up past performance reviews you had. These documents contain valuable details of your achievements and attitude at work and are endorsed by the people you work for. If possible, you could also contact your former bosses or clients to write you a recommendation.

2. Reports or Publications Produced

Reports or analysis you created for your company belong to the company you worked for. However, the fact that you authored those documents point to insights and expertise you have in that particular field. List down notable publications, articles or reports you authored and prepare to proudly discuss how you put them together and the insights you can share.

3. Skills, Certifications and Educational Qualifications

Collate all your educational certificates, including short-term courses. Chances are, you might have missed out including some of them in your resume. Rather than listing every single certificate you have, consider only adding those that help reinforce the message or impression you wish to convey, customised to the particular job(s) you are applying for.

Reach Outward

Now that you’ve done your internal housekeeping, here are the things you can do next to boost your chances at landing a job:

1. Phone-A-Friend

You know that drawer that has years’ worth of namecards from all over the place? Gather all of them, and look through them one by one. When you’re outside, you can do the same for your phone contacts list. When you come across a friend/business contact with whom you have not spoken with in some time, schedule a time to give that person a call. Catch up to find out what they are doing at the moment, and let them know you’re in the market looking for job opportunities. That phone call might open doors for future collaborations. At the very least, it keeps you ‘warmed up’ when it comes to speaking to people in your industry and broadens your perspectives.

2. Upgrade Yourself Through Courses

Government agencies like the Workforce Development Agency as well as initiatives like SkillsFuture mean that there are free or heavily-subsidised courses you can join. Many of these courses are of high quality and highly relevant. Attending courses allows you to network with fellow jobseekers or working professionals

3. Volunteer!

Volunteering isn’t just going to the beach and picking litter. There are myriad opportunities to contribute to a cause that is close to your heart, while picking up valuable skills in running programmes and events, liaising with vendors and sponsors, driving high impact outreach initiatives, and more. Volunteer Welfare Organisations are always on the lookout for a pair of capable hands with a heart. As a bonus, these contributions allow you to add very current achievements to your resume. The SGCares portal is a good place to start.

Moving Ahead

Being unemployed is stressful for anyone. The last thing you want is to fall sick. Have a healthy routine that includes a nutritious diet, some exercise and sufficient of rest. Doing so will contribute to a more positive, hopeful outlook and keep you in the best possible condition to seize any opportunities that come your way.

Read Also: 5 Ways Being Fit Can Help You Save Money

Having more time on your hands is silver lining of your current situation. Enjoy it with your loved ones, explore your hobbies, and plan for your road ahead. All the best in the next, exciting chapter of your career!

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