Aged 50 looking for work tips
Are you aged 50 or over and anxious about your employment prospects? Worried that your age might count against you? Well that’s understandable because, despite laws against it, some mature age workers do encounter bias. A survey published last year showed that workers as young as 45 can experience age discrimination when applying for roles.
On a brighter note, the disability, community and aged care sector employs a higher percentage of mature-aged workers than most. Why is that? Well just maybe because employers in a people-centred business value the accumulated wisdom, maturity and experience that come with age.
But an enlightened attitude to older workers does not necessarily mean that age is irrelevant. You might still come across individual hiring managers who, even unconsciously, lean towards younger applicants. If you do find yourself in that situation, here are a few tips to help you help yourself:
5 Tips if you’re aged 50 or over and looking for work
- Think young – It’s a hoary old cliché that you are as young as you feel. It’s vital to keep that in mind when you are talking to potential employers. Their priorities are their organisation’s future and what you can to do to help it. They will quickly switch off if you talk about the ‘good old days’, so instead think and talk about what’s important to them now.
- Be flexible – Just because you’ve done something brilliantly for years does not mean there is no other way of doing it. Be open to new ideas and to doing things differently. These days you’ll hear more and more about ‘Lifelong learning’. Adopt that mindset and welcome opportunities to learn new skills.
- Keep your résumé current – It’s not that hiring managers disrespect a long employment history. It’s just that they are much more interested in what you can do now. So when preparing your résumé concentrate on the last 5 years and/or 3 jobs. After all you have probably had most to offer in your recent roles because of all your previous experience. So let your résumé highlight where you’re at now and your potential.
- Embrace technology – When it comes to IT, you don’t have to be a complete geek but you do need to show willing. Hi tech is here to stay and it’s entering more and more aspects of our lives. Most of the systems you will encounter are not that hard to learn. If you have never touched a computer in your life, there is help available. Libraries, local councils and others offer free programs to get you started. It’s never too late. The author’s 88 year-old mother has recently discovered she can keep in touch with friends on an iPad, and now there’s no holding her back. If she can do it, anyone can!
- Play to your strengths – Don’t forget that age has advantages too. Older workers are known for being more loyal and stable as well as bringing the wisdom and good judgment that come with experience. Use yours to ensure you become a real asset to an employer.