LOSING a job is not a good thing for anyone of any age.

However, for people who are aged 40 and above, not having a job becomes an undesirable challenge due to financial liabilities and a loss of self-esteem. A long period of joblessness also impacts the entire family.

So what can older workers do to avoid getting off track?

And what can those who have already lost their jobs do to return to the right track?

Here are some tips based on my experience:

1. Value-add

Irrespective of the market conditions, successful enterprises are those that deliver value to their customers at the most competitive price.

Each employee, an integral part of the enterprise, must deliver value every day and should be remunerated in line with his value-add to the enterprise.

However, with many long-service employees, their salary would have overtaken their value-add to the organisation.

Their organisation can get another potential replacement candidate at lower remuneration for the same value-add.

Therefore, it is very important for employees who are over 40 to continue to evaluate and get feedback from their managers about their value-add to the organisation.

This can result in taking additional responsibilities and therefore enhancing their value-add.

Adding value invariably produces results and gives people better job satisfaction too.

If you have already lost your job and are preparing for interviews, you must do your homework.

Find out how your skill-sets can add value to a potential employer, and highlight the fact during the interview. Your value-driven approach may also induce the interviewer to consider you for a different but suitable role other than the one you are being interviewed for.

Whatever your last-drawn salary, you need to look at the salary in line with the value you are going to add to your new employer.

With such a value-driven approach, your chance of securing a job is much higher.

2. Adaptability

To ensure that you are on the right track and keep moving in the right direction in your career, you must adapt to changes.

Every change presents new opportunities. While in the job, you should always be conscious of changes within the organisation.

There may be opportunities for you, perhaps in a different department or at a regional office.

Accepting a new role is a chance to learn and enhance your skill-set, which, in turn, could be the insurance policy for your future career prospects.

If you are looking for a job, be flexible and accept a short- or long-term contract position.

3. Skill-set development

For various reasons, many executives ignore their personal or professional development in the middle years of their career.

Your skill-set is the best insurance policy you can have for your future career.

While you are working, you must try to stay relevant and enhance value to your organisation by upgrading your skills on a continuous basis. This can also mean being hands-on in an area of focus.

If you are between jobs, try to get trained in a specific area that will complement your existing skill-set.

For example, if you are a domain expert, developing further information technology skills can open up a new set of job opportunities.

4. Drive

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”

Successful enterprises are high-performance entities — they must achieve results at all times. If you are part of one, you must align yourself with its pace and culture.

If you are applying for a job with a high-performance enterprise, there must be no doubts in the interviewer’s mind about your ability to cope with long working hours, handle the pressure of the job and deliver the desired results.

During your job interview, ensure that your drive is apparent by your energetic speech, can-do attitude, appropriate body language and erect posture. Exercise regularly so that you look fit and appear in control.

5. Right attitude

It is smart to be on your manager’s side. Ensure that your manager looks good because of your work or value-add. As your manager goes up the corporate ladder, so will you.

Every successful leader needs trusted and competent followers. How you get on with your manager can make a difference to your career success in the company.

If you are leaving a job, never burn your bridges with your manager. You never know when you might need his support again.

6. Networking

Lastly, however busy you are, you should set aside time for networking.

Meeting new people and connecting with those you know bring fresh ideas and shared insights. Remember that networking is as much about giving as it is about gaining.

You should help people in your network to boost their careers too.

If you are unemployed, expanding your network is a crucial first step in the job search process.

You will find that your long-term relationships and connections make it much easier for you to get another job.