Landing a job as a 50 year old is not as easy as you might think. Age discrimination is still alive and well in the corporate world, and while attitudes towards older workers have improved, there is still a long way to go before the message gets through to everyone.
What message? you ask.
The message that older workers come with a wealth of valuable industry knowledge and experience and are more productive, reliable, flexible and loyal than their younger counterparts.
So if you’re 50 or over and looking for a job, good luck! And here are 13 tips to help you land that dream position you’re after.
13 tips for mature-aged job applicants
- Tailor your CV
“When applying for a position, resist the temptation to list every job you’ve ever had. Limit it to the past 10 years and remove things irrelevant to the prospective employer.’’ (Dr Kay Patterson)
- Update your skills
If you aren’t familiar with the latest technology, teach yourself with YouTube videos and get certified via an online course. This will demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary qualifications and are willing to learn new skills
- Find the right employer
Read up on companies in your desired industry, particularly regarding their track records on diversity and apply to those that have an inclusive culture that treats workers of all ages equally.
- Highlight your experience
Your industry experience gives you an advantage over younger applicants, so make sure you emphasise to employers how it could bring value to their organisation (i.e. through mentoring).
- Know the answers
Have your answers to the hard questions worked out ahead of time, such as ‘’Why do you want a job you’re overqualified for?’’ or “’Will you be happy with a lower salary than you’re used to?” You can check out this Interview Masterclass to find out all the answers you need.
- Know the tools
Make sure you’re up to speed with the latest communication tools such as Zoom, Google Meet and other video platforms. And if an employer wants to do a video interview, be sure to test out the app ahead of time to learn how it works.
- Use your networks
Let your industry colleagues and contacts know you’re looking to re-enter the workforce, because many job opportunities actually come from referrals.
- Be flexible
If you can’t find full time work, consider contracting or consulting. This will provide you with funds during your job search and help you to brush up your skills.
- Maintain your image
Stay fit and healthy, control your weight, update your wardrobe and pay attention to your personal grooming, so that employers perceive you as a consummate professional.
- If you can’t do it, teach
If you’re having trouble landing that dream job, consider using your knowledge and experience to your benefit in the meantime by tutoring young industry hopefuls at the local TAFE or university.
- Hire a career coach
If you’re getting the interviews but not being asked back, and you think your age is a factor, hire a career coach to help you identify any subconscious behaviours that may be working against you.
- Stay up to date
If you’ve been out of your industry – even for a short time – a lot may have changed, so read up on new trends or technological developments and make sure you have your finger firmly on the pulse.
- List your transferable skills
If you’re applying for a job in an industry you’ve never worked in, create a list of your previous job skills, identify those that are applicable to your new field and feature them in your CV and job applications.
Good luck with finding a new job!
Finding a job once you’re 50 years old isn’t easy, and it’s ironic considering 50 is not very old. The problem is that many organisations are still clinging to the idea that unless you’re young and fresh-faced, you’re not a good future investment for them.
So rather than trying to convince them they’re wrong, show them by;
- Being across the new technology
- Being prepared to take a cut in salary
- Being keen to share your experience with their younger employees
- Knowing as much about the industry as they do.
Most importantly of all, spend your time in the interview demonstrating what a valuable player you would be to have on their team.