Are you too old to be hired?

Many of us dream of retirement but when we get there it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. The Weekly gets author and career coach Jane Jackson to give you some tips on getting back into the workforce.

Many of us dream of retirement when we’re getting up at the crack of dawn, battling with other commuters to work, dealing with office politics, working long hours and carrying a heavy workload. When the time for retirement comes, it’s a welcome break after years of working, saving and planning for the future.

However, for some of us retirement isn’t as enjoyable as it’s supposed to be. Perhaps we’re bored and miss the regularity and camaraderie of being in the workforce and the thrill of a challenge. Perhaps we miss the status of having a job title or the opportunity to mentor younger team members. Or perhaps our financial situation has changed and due to economic necessity we have to go back to work.

Change can be pretty scary. It can leave us feeling confused, anxious, fearful and stressed. We find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster and it’s erodes our self-confidence, we feel dizzy and confused about what to do next.

Unfortunately, finding a new job can be a challenge when we are older with more degree-qualified youngsters entering the job market, other baby boomers taking longer and longer to retire and so many jobs being outsourced offshore and companies downsizing resulting in many redundancies and fewer opportunities.

Coupled with a lack of confidence and clarity about what to do next, the situation can become very stressful.

Nothing endures but change. Change is the only constant – Greek philosopher Heraclitus.

You are not the first to cope with change – people have been coping with change for thousands of years but still, it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens to us.

So what can we do? As a career management coach who has coached over 1,000 clients through their career and life transitions, I’ve found that many feel the same anxiety. Here’s what two of my clients have felt when going through career change:

“Suddenly I had no clear plan or identity, my networks outside {of my industry} were weak and I had no real idea of what I wanted to do next. I went at speed from being an ‘important person’ to an ‘unemployed person.’ I lost the things that I thought defined me – the status, the car, the income – and, like many people, I was wandering in ‘the mist’ a bit.”

“Going through redundancy after 35 years in a stable government job and facing the incredible unknown for which I was ill prepared left me at a complete loss. The fact that I was unemployed at the age of 52, I felt like an ‘old woman’ in the eyes of younger employees. I felt panic.”

The most important thing if you’re returning to the workforce after a period in retirement is to be clear about what you can and want to do.

Here are 7 steps to follow before re-entering the job market:

Build your confidence by sharing your concerns with trusted friends or family who are well connected in your areas of interest or by gaining an honest, informed perspective from a career coach.

Identify what you can do and the skills you have that are transferrable into a new role. Think about what you’d like to do next and find out what skills you need to upgrade. Get up to speed

with new technology required for the roles you want to target so you won’t be perceived as a ‘dinosaur.’

Update your resume with tangible accomplishments to prove that you are a professional who will add value to any organisation.

The way you look matters and unfortunately, people will pass judgment on whether your age will affect your ability to do a good job. Update your ‘look’ and be aware that your posture is the key to making you look younger (or older). Keep physically fit so you have a spring in your step!

Learn about the new job search strategies. Many roles are advertised online and, according to a 2014 JobVite Survey, 93% of recruiters now use to source for candidates. Create a strong online profile on LinkedIn so you can be found.

Practice your interview technique to answer confidently when asked, “Why should we hire you?” and prepare specific examples to demonstrate your capabilities.

Be flexible and realistic with your salary expectations. Check current salary surveys such as the one on to research the market rate for any role you target.

If you have the financial resources, you could consider self-employment. Do you have skills that would make you a valued consultant or business owner?

Self-employment could mean setting up a consultancy, buying a franchise, buying an existing business or setting up your own business. To be successful in self-employment, conduct a reality check, plan in advance and do your research before launching into anything new. An excellent website for ‘solo-preneurs’ is where you’ll find information on setting up a business.

There are many options for those thinking about going back into the workforce after retirement. It takes courage, a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. What will you do?

Jane Jackson is a Career Management Coach and Author of #1 Amazon Australia (Careers) Bestseller, Navigating Career Crossroads. Visit Jane at for more career tips or buy her book by clicking here

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