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Back to work at nearly 50! ( bit long sorry)

(21 Posts)
Ilovereadingbooks Mon 02-Feb-15 11:24:40

Just need some advice really, not sure where to turn in the real world. For lots of reasons I'd rather not go into, I am now in a position where I am looking for a job and getting nowhere fast. Worked for a few hours a week before. I don't have any childcare issues now or anything like that, but I do have an extremely thin CV and even jobs such as cleaning I haven't had any feed back from, let alone an interview! Been turned down for a job last week ( the interview was hard as it was compentence related and I didn't have a lot of experience to draw on for the answers career wise) I am hoping to do a computer course end of this month, but have a feeling it wont go ahead if they don't get enough people to do the course, its already had the start date put back from Jan.

I think that its a combination of not working full time for years and not really having any skills that is holding me back. Its hard to explain but I feel such a failure, even though I know its not going to be easy finding something with so much competition around, plus my age will go against me too I think.
I know I could volunteer myself, but reluctant to do this and I really want to work and earn some money for myself. My DH is good, but he can only earn so much and with my young son off to Uni this year ( fingers crossed) we will need some extra income to help him. I am not entitled to any benefits or anything like that.
had office experience only up 1996, had odd jobs and my little job was for nearly 8 years, so from an employers point of view I guess I am a non starter. the idea of going into an agency fills me with dread, plus my computer knowledge is pretty sparse, not used a pc in a work environment before, so if they were to test me I would be useless! Sorry to sound so whiney but not sure what to do. Anyone else been in this situation? ( it doesn't help that Dh has been in the same job for over 35 years , and works with women that work full time with little ones. He is only supportive up to a point, I am sure he thinks its easier to get a job than it is sometimes) I am hoping that the course does start this time, not sure how much this will help me. I think I am placing too much on this though and it will always be your past experience that is important.

basildonbond Mon 02-Feb-15 15:13:34

You do need to get some experience under your belt - think about what you want to do and see if you can volunteer in that area

If you have no skills then you'll need to either get some skills pretty quickly or go for unskilled jobs

Have a look for any 'back to work' courses in your area - quite often councils will fund these so they're free for participants (usually aimed at women returning to work)

MrsMargoLeadbetter Mon 02-Feb-15 22:37:21

I can understand why you don't want to volunteer but it will be a quick way to skill up and gain some recent experience. You could always do something part-time and spend the rest of the time job hunting, ticking both boxes as it were.

Have you access to a PC could you do some online training courses for MS office products?

Blueberrycreampie Mon 02-Feb-15 22:50:11

Have you thought about temping? This would allow you to build up skills and experience and get a feel for which direction you want to go in. You will also have recent references which can be really useful for prospective employers. I know a few people who have returned to the workforce this way.

Start by contacting a couple of employment agencies who can find the right placement for you. Good luck!

Ilovereadingbooks Tue 03-Feb-15 13:43:51

Thank you for your replies. I hope to start the computer course on the 24 th. always suffered with low self esteem so dreading more interviews and knock backs!

Muskey Tue 03-Feb-15 13:53:58

I was in a ery similar situation to you having decided to take a career break for five years. However during my timeout of work Ivolunteered for a whole raft of things from fund raising for charity, church cleaning ,helping out in school and working at CAB.Sometimes employers prefer maturity but they do like to see that you areable to use a computer and that you have been seen to have been doing something with your time.

I hope that this helps.good luck

Ilovereadingbooks Tue 03-Feb-15 19:22:15

Musky, thank you. I had a look at some volunteer work on line today. The problem for me is the confidence to ring someone and start doing. It doesnt help that i get knocked back for unskilled work too ( just never hear anything) i have friends that work and i am sure they think i am just useless! Its very demoralising. Dh isnt too impressed as i did have a job before.. I know i shouldnt whinge but just really down and starting to think i will never work again.

Muskey Tue 03-Feb-15 19:32:51

Start small despite having a lot of qualifications my first volunteer job was cleaning my church. It doesn't matter what you do. You'd be surprised how many organisations need people to do voluntary work. Don't be scared of people saying no just treat it as a learning opportunity and the next step nearer achieving your goal. I know I sound trite but I really have been there.

Unexpected Tue 03-Feb-15 23:00:18

You do need to volunteer. Why are you so reluctant to do so? It's a good way to build up skills, confidence and gives you something to talk about at interviews. You also need some serious IT training, particularly if you have never used a PC at work before. If this course doesn't start, find another one. Every office job nowadays will expect to see proficiency in Word and Excel listed on your CV, even if you are not going to be using those packages on a everyday basis. Anything else you can offer like PowerPoint etc will also show that you are generally IT literate and can pick up new programmes as you go along.

basildonbond Wed 04-Feb-15 14:50:51

You need to have something that employers want - whether that's skills, experience or initiative

Sorry to be blunt but it doesn't sound at the moment like you've got anything to offer

So I'm afraid you're going to have to galvanise yourself into action - volunteering would help you get experience and possibly skills and is a good way to update your CV - initiative, well that's something no-one can give you, you need to supply that yourself

If your confidence is so low that you can't phone up about volunteering opportunities then have a look for 'returning to work' courses in your area

If the phone's the problem, go into your local charity shops and ask in person how you can help

The Royal Voluntary Service are always in need of people - have a look on their website:

There's no reason for you to be unoccupied for the next 20+ years so the sooner you start the better

raspberryriot Sat 07-Feb-15 08:37:00

Hi there. Have a look at this website: They run free online BTEC courses (government funded). Over the past year I have completed two courses; IT Skills and Business and Administration. Real confidence booster to get these qualifications on my CV. I would say that voluntary work would give you invaluable experience. Good luck with this new chapter of your life.

thereinmadnesslies Sat 07-Feb-15 08:58:48

I've just been interviewing for an admin role. We interviewed one person who had been on a career break with children for 8 years. She got the interview because she'd done several recent computer skills courses at the local college. At the interview she totally flunked the questions because she had no recent work experience to use - a lot of the questions were 'can you give me an example of teamwork / problem solving / prioritisation / customer service etc'. So I would suggest both some IT courses and either voluntary work or temping to get experience to talk about. Good luck

Ilovereadingbooks Sat 07-Feb-15 13:38:31

Thank you everyone.

VixxFace Sat 07-Feb-15 14:58:42

Would you consider working as a carer? Carers often do not need any experience and most companies offer induction training at the beginning. You could then gain some experience and maybe go to college part time. Care work is very flexible.

opalfire Mon 09-Feb-15 12:33:04

Hi, books,

I understand how you feel. I'm nearly 50 and trying to find something after 10 years out. No takers even when I'm overqualified for the jobs I'm looking at! Poor DH 'understands' that I can't jump back into a high-powered job, but is surprised that I'm getting no takers.

Two things:-
Firstly in yesterday's Sunday Times there was an article about Barclays having apprenticeships for the over 50s. I think they're being launched in April, and might be a good starting point. Everything taught and our life experience should lead to quick progression. They think other organisations might follow suit, hopefully.

Secondly - for a competency-based interview you might not have much work-based evidence, but I bet you've done other things in your home life which could still be used as examples. You might not have organised a business meeting, but you may have organsed and co-ordinated events or parties at home. How did you overcome the difficulties? Did you have any back up plans? In terms of perseverence, if you've raised children there must have been times when you've had to think of different approaches to a problem such as warring children, incentives to persuade DC to spend more time on homework; taken responsibility at a playgroup or co-ordinated something for school or a PTA.

If you look closely at the person spec, it should give you a clue as to the skills they want. Have a really good think about things you've done that might show those skills. If you can't think of any yourself, ask friends or DH for help. You'll be surprised at what they might have noticed that you do well! Write some of these examples down and don't be afraid to take some notes into an interview to look at and jog your memory.

Actually three things then (!) I agree with everyone that has suggested starter or access courses to help with confidence. I'm going to do something too!

Good luck - please post how you get on!

fluffapuss Wed 11-Mar-15 02:05:33

Hello Ilove

Volunteering opens up so many opportunities to learn new things & meet people & it increases your confidence
Most voluntary posts expect people to volunteer regularly eg a certain day of the week, but you are allowed time off for holidays
Choose some volunteer work that you think you will enjoy

You cannot say you dont like volunteering if you dont try it !

Secondly, not all jobs involve computers eg working with animals, plants, kitchen work, shop work, driving, hospitals etc

Good luck

Buddy80 Wed 11-Mar-15 12:09:15

Have you thought of volunteering for CAB where they will provide you with free, accredited training? This can be transferable to employers.

Another one, is to look for free courses you can do from home (saving on travel costs). Here is a link for you Vision2Learn

Another option is have you considered going to university or doing an access course? Many of these do carry maintenance grants, etc.

I would suggest that you do visit your local careers office (you will need to make an appt online). There you can talk through with an advisor and they have jobs advertised and local links with companies.

niceandwarm Wed 11-Mar-15 12:16:50

Voluntary work in a charity shop will give you all sorts of skills very quickly, from stock control to customer services, window display and cashiering, plus soft skills like team working and time management.

The80sweregreat Thu 12-Mar-15 13:16:25

hi, not been on this topic for a while, still plugging away at the job hunting. thanks for all your answers though, really helpful.

ovaryhill Sat 02-May-15 11:33:40

Hi just abode across this thread and wanted to tell you my situation in the hope it may help you
I am 46 and had never worked, sahm for years! No computer skills at all but reasonably intelligent
I started volunteering at CAB, I could do whatever hours suited me and I took advantage of all the free training and qualification they offered
I was there about a year when a full time highly paid job with them came up and thanks to the support and encouragement I received from my lovely boss, I got the job!!
Most of the paid staff started out as volunteers and it truly is the best thing I have ever done, everyone chips in to help if your stuck with something and I honestly have never met a lovelier more supportive bunch of people
I am also currently earning more than my husband,, which is rather nice!

nigelslaterfan Thu 11-Jun-15 10:48:14

Hello, I am also in the process of trying to return to work after many years not working, I am interested in retraining in teaching but everything is harder when you are older. my dd is 6 and ds is 14 and dh works long hours. To adjust to study and work is so hard, I really regret leaving it this long as my confidence is very very low at times.
If I could go back in time I would never have been a SAHM! Never! I regret it so much, I know I loved being there for them but I now feel the cost is far too great.

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