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OPINION – Business Blog – Navigating Unemployment in Your Fifties

Fraser Valley (Catherine Hercus) – Happy New Year! If you’re like me, I like to use part of the Christmas holidays to reflect on the previous year and set some goals for the next year.

I had a bumpy career ride for the first three quarters of last year due to my job being restructured in 2019. After looking for an eLearning, writing or communications position for 2 and a half months, I took a lower paying retail insurance adviser job while I regrouped.

At age 58 this was no easy task. I had previously worked in the insurance industry for 18 years, and I found most positions on an industry website or was headhunted. When I started my search, I had no idea which employment websites I should be using. I did not find headhunters helpful and researched which employment websites were best suited for my job search.

I continued applying for freelance as well as full time writing positions, and got to know which employment websites, cover letters and resumes were generating interview requests.

Luckily two of my previous bosses were human resources professionals, and they coached me on how to answer interview questions. One type of interview I still don’t feel comfortable with are pre recorded video interviews where you have about two minutes to record an answer to predetermined questions. I blew a couple of these interviews as I was uncomfortable with the format. For me, phone, Zoom or Teams interviews were easier and eventually that’s how I landed both a freelance and fulltime position.

Things started improving in March 2021 when I was hired as a freelance blog writer for a plumbing and heating company. I kept looking for a suitable eLearning, technical writing, or communications job.

After ten months of submitting over 300 resumes, and dover a dozen interviews, I finally landed a full-time technical writing job for a Fraser Valley mining equipment supply company. Next, I was approached by the Fraser Valley News Network to write a weekly blog featuring businesses based or serving the Fraser Valley. The year ended with a second blog and website content client in the insurance industry for 2022.

My job search taught me the importance of determination, researching the employment market and re-examining my goals and skills to find the right fit. During my search, I expanded my search beyond finance or insurance which was my comfort zone. I discovered I have a flair for writing blogs, and in nine months have had them published in the plumbing, mining, and media industries.

In my side business, The Write Stuff, I help BC companies with their business writing needs. I have written and edited blogs, technical job manuals and aids, eBooks and sales emails for over 25 years. Contact me at writestuff89@gmail.com or 604-788-0137 to discuss being featured in this blog, or for help creating content for your blogs or website.

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