Job Hunting and The Older Worker
It happens to everyone, eventually. You look around the train or bus on your morning commute and wonder: “am I the oldest person here?
Alas, you may well be the oldest person right now but research from the UK suggests an increasing trend for over -50s to remain in the workforce leaving many older workers with little choice but to remain in their job beyond their planned retirement date
And a similar trend is likely to follow here in Ireland.
Sometimes the living is easy for older workers in organisations that value their skills and experience. Others, though, may not be satisfied with staying in the same old job as the retirement horizon recedes. After all, over 50’s may be looking at another 20 years of working life under the new scenario so it makes sense to make the most of that time.
However, older workers can feel that they face an uphill battle in competing with younger people for the attention of employers. And, some employers can harbor negative beliefs about older employees – around salary expectations and being over qualified for the job
But the fact is that many enlightened employers say that they value older workers for the experience, reliability and customer focus that they bring to a job
So, what’s an upwardly mobile, older job seeker to do in order to get a new job? Here are some suggestions:
- Ask yourself this question: “What am I offering this particular employer, and what do I want in return”? Write down the specific skills and experience you will bring to the job and the reward you expect in return. This exercise, (which has nothing to do with age), will clarify for you: a) the skills and talent you will bring to the employer and b) the value that you put on yourself as an employee
- Think of your age as an asset called experience. That may sound cheesy but: Experience will have taught you a number of soft-but -vital skills: e.g. how to get along well with colleagues; the importance of sharing your experience and knowledge; awareness of the competitive environment and the vital importance of good customer relations.
- Revamp your CV: It’s surprising how quickly jargon and industry-specific terminology can change. Keep your CV up to date by revising it each time you submit it to a potential employer
A CV of more than two pages is too long and will not impress anyone. Shorten an overly wordy CV by editing it ruthlessly. When you have a lot of experience and qualification etc. it’s tempting to list them all. In detail. Resist that urge by emphasizing your more recent experience and achievements, rather than your earlier years
- If you believe potential employers consider you to be too expensive and/or overqualified, consider offering to work on a term contract or on a contract for service (freelance) basis. Employers may be more willing to think of an older worker as a consultant or as someone working on a specific project rather than as a long-term employee