Marketing Yourself to Employers As You Get Older
As we get older, it is not uncommon to question the security of our role at work as women over 40. What if our employers start thinking we’re no longer up to the challenge? Will we be the first to go when it’s time for a cull?
The first step to successfully meeting these challenges is to have confidence that you can meet them. It’s always easier to market a product when you believe in it! Self confidence, therefore, is an absolutely vital ingredient of success, not only for women over 40, but for us all. The good news is that there are many ways to grow it and maintain it over the years:
Focus on remaining current by keeping up to date and sure of your skill set.
Get involved in activities outside what you have typically seen as your routine ‘bag’.
Find a way to mentor those coming up the ladder. This can hugely credentialise your worth, enabling your experience to be seen as the huge asset it is.
Remain current in looks too! Have the nerve to overhaul your image and show off a vibrant new you. Women frequently make successful image changes midlife.
Sustaining self-confidence (in this way) is just the first step in successfully sustaining your career over 40. If you’re concerned about the possibility of your current employer losing faith in you, consider how to increase your usefulness to them by becoming a mentor to less experienced staff.
Ensure that your style remains highly approachable so that you become trusted as and known for being a ‘guide on the side’ or a ‘sage on the stage’ depending on circumstances.
Don’t hark back to the past-but remember it yourself and present elements of your experience as relevant to current circumstances in a helpful and supportive manner. Don’t be seen as an ‘I’ve done it all before/back in my day…’ type!
Ensure your personal style is as supportive as the actions you take! Generation Y does not like being told what to do by generation X!
Use your initiative: if you see something to do which would be helpful, work on doing it, whether it’s off your own bat or after getting it signed off.
As well as making the most of your long-term skills, maintain your skill set to fully benefit your organisation, so demonstrating your relevance and worth:
Gather information and knowledge (on relevant skills) by remaining or becoming an avid reader and extensively exploring the World Wide Web.
Use external opportunities, such as voluntary work, to maintain currency. Being a Scout Leader or Brown Owl, for example, uses leadership skills in a different context. Additionally, the guaranteed contact with parents and children can’t help but maintain stature in the wider world, which will filter back into the workplace.
Network formally and informally to maximise exposure and keep abreast with what’s going on
Allocate sufficient time to external work or skills training you value highly.
If it’s not politic or possible for your employer to support attendance at a particular event, be prepared to take a day’s holiday and invest in yourself.
Consider which new sport to try so as to maintain fitness and mental alertness. Generally speaking, fitter and healthier people have the greater capacity for learning. It’s particularly important for men and women over 40 to maintain their mental sharpness.
No one has 100% job security, but you have the power to show your employer what you’re worth and extend your career over 40. Be confident and make your maturity and wisdom work for you in the workplace!