Losing a job is always stressful. Many women over 60 have had careers filled with brilliant highs and terrifying lows, failures mixed with glowing achievements and recognition. But today, the impermanence of the workplace doesn’t linger on the positive but pushes employers and employees into a less connected and committed relationship.
The good news is that, for most women over 60, resilience and the ability to bounce back has become a way of life – and losing a job can sometimes be the greatest gift. Whether you decide to look for a new job in the same business, start your own venture, go part time or decide to retire, the way in which you approach this next ‘chapter’ of your life is all you really can control.
So, besides forgetting your age and not even thinking it should make a difference – here’s what can you do.
The most important thing you can do to relaunch your career in any way is to practice positive thinking. Manage your attitude. Your self-worth is not tied to a job description and you are far more than any work skill you have developed. Remind yourself of all the good things you can offer an employer – ranging from specific knowledge to life experience, poise, grace under pressure, connections and maturity.
Practice positive self-talk. Get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat well. If your loss of a job has changed your routine, make the most of the extra spare time by going to the gym, practicing yoga, taking an online class, learning a language.
If you have a connected and dynamic social life and stay physically active, you’ll be more likely to have a positive mindset that will serve you well in exploring your options and shaping a new career.
One of the advantages that older workers have is that they typically have strong professional networks. If you think that your job may be at risk, don’t wait to start reconnecting with your former co-workers. It will be much easier to ask for their help if you have kept in touch.
Be positive and confident, but, don’t be afraid to ask them to keep an eye out for something that you might be interested in. They can’t help you if they don’t know what you are looking for.
Update your resume/CV. Talk with friends and ex colleagues and get their honest feedback about what needs to change on your resume. Get a letter of recommendation from your previous employer before you leave while your contribution and character are in their minds. Don’t forget to emphasize the different skills or responsibilities you’ve taken on in the job you are leaving.
Simplify and focus and remove some old information that is less relevant. Be sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and ask friends and colleagues to add a recommendation for you. The best time to do this is as you are leaving not months later. You should also consider recording a video interview and posting on YouTube or your own blog. People connect visually, so overcome the fear and be your enthusiastic, vibrant and convincing self!
When you are 60 years old you know what you want, you know the types of situations you thrive and succeed in – so don’t apply for a job you know you will hate – just to be employed! At a job interview, make sure you interview the company as well as letting them interview you. Talk in-depth about what you’re hoping to get out of the job and what you can offer.
Do not for one minute think ‘I am too old’ or ‘they won’t hire me because I’m over 60’ – it is not relevant and in most countries illegal. Find out if the company culture is the right fit for your personality and values. Think of yourself as a “prize” to be won and your confidence will shine through.
One of the biggest goals for many women over 60 is to achieve a life with greater financial independence. One of the best options for people in the later stages of their careers is to start a new business.
Women over 60 have many advantages in being entrepreneurs: being resourceful, energetic, with excellent career experience, a strong network of colleagues, friends and contacts who can help identify opportunities. Most of all women in this group don’t follow the stereotypes and have a willingness to learn, change and make an impact on the world.
So don’t feel depressed or frightened about losing your job after age 60. You have unique capabilities to create your own world and bounce back from disappointments. Perhaps you will soon realize that losing that job set you on the course to gaining a whole new life.
What’s your take on this? How have you reacted to career setbacks at various stages of life, and how do you feel about your career now that you’re a woman over 60? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.
Looking for more career advice and jobs for women over 50? Watch my interview with Kerry Hannon. Some of her tips may surprise you!
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