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by Holly Caplan
Who’s gonna hire me now?
I hear this question from my clients all the time. It is an honest question haloed by fear, uncertainty and panic. Who asks me this question the most? Women over 50 years old.
I was 35 years old and on fire!
When I was 35 years old and fighting my way to the top of a sales organization, I felt unstoppable. Consumed with proving myself, I was in constant growth mode and hyper-focused on my goals. I believed all my accomplishments were relevant to my future, so I stacked my resume with achievements. My arsenal of knowledge and expertise continued to grow into my mid-40s. I gained life experience along with wisdom and honed my leadership skills. I became a well-rounded professional, proud of my work and consistent drive to succeed. However, after I turned 45, whenever I felt the urge to submit my resume for a role that appeared interesting, I noticed I didn’t receive the same warm reception I got in my 30s. Getting an interview was never a problem for me previously. Yet, now suddenly it was.
What the hell is happening???
I reached out to my colleagues about this question. I built my career, have the accolades to prove it, and now employers do not respond. What is going on?? I learned from these conversations with colleagues that they were experiencing the same. The no-brainer moves now, to preserve the appearance of youth, were to take college graduation dates off of the resume in addition to the first 10 years of work experience. Poof. Get rid of it. It was hard to come to terms with the fact that my experience and career tenure didn’t matter nearly as much as my birthdate for the jobs I thought I wanted.
Four Tips to help reinvent yourself
So, fellow AARP members, what do we do? What resources or reinvention tactics do we consider in finding a new job or starting our own hustle?
Grow Your Network
Networking is a skill I lost in Corporate America. Insulated by the corporate culture around me, I had no need to network independently with contacts and customers outside the organization. I started from scratch when I decided to go out on my own; it was hard. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait as long as I did to build your network. Start now. Make the commitment to yourself to attend three networking events per month to begin to gain momentum. Ask friends what networking groups they recommend, join your local chamber, or volunteer at an event. These are great ways to make new friends and create business partnerships; these relationships will be essential to finding the right job or your next steps simply because they want to help you.
If you worked for the last 25 years, you most likely know how to run a business and have thought at some point of becoming an entrepreneur. Now is your time. You have enough business acumen, experience and knowledge to start doing your own thing.
If this idea seems appealing, yet overwhelming, you are normal. Grab a glass of wine and make a list of all of the businesses you see as something you could do on your own. This is your personal brainstorming session. Do not leave any idea off the table. Just get started. Identify a problem and figure out how you might be the solution. As you go through this process you will naturally identify what will work best for you professionally and financially.
Find a support system
A support system is essential for encouragement and confidence. As we grow older in the workplace, we must realize we are not alone and that there are plenty of us in the same boat. I encourage you to find three to five like-minded individuals who provide you with a safe space to brainstorm and share confidences. This support system provides a backbone in getting that new role, career, or finding the conviction to start your own business.
Get a coach
When I started to question what I really wanted to do with the rest of my career, I felt stuck. I knew I wanted to create change for myself but wasn’t sure how. How was I to break out of my “old” mindset and comfort zone? I knew I needed assistance, accountability and courage. So, I hired a coach to help navigate the uncharted waters ahead of me. She provided me the direction, love and support that helped me grow into my second act. Hiring a coach will do the same for you.
The bottom line
I encourage everyone to take inventory of where you are at age 50Plus, consider what is important to you and take charge of your destiny. You earned it and you deserve it. It’s time to shake up your career trajectory and find your second act.
About the author
Holly Caplan, “Confidence Coach and Dream Strategist”, is passionate about supporting and elevating women. Fueled by the passion and knowledge she gained from her many experiences, both positive and negative, Holly provides personalized coaching programs and workshops designed to help women find their confidence, purpose and fulfillment. Holly is also an accomplished public speaker and the author of “Surviving the Dick Click: A Girls Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World”.
Born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, Holly is a Louisiana girl at heart, but has called Texas home for the last 27 years. Learn more about Holly at hollycaplan.com
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