In this blog post we will cover Practical Job Search Tips for the over 50s
What are the challenges of finding work in later life?
There are 4 main reasons people struggle to get a job in later life. Here are some reasons why people need practical job search tips. They
- Think they are too old and expect people to feel negatively against them
- Are stuck in the past and talk about how things used to be done and don’t come across as someone who embraces new technology and new ways of working
- Aren’t clear on the job they want – they are vague and say they are willing to apply for anything, but a CV and everything to do with job search needs focus on a goal
- Haven’t kept up to date – there’s nothing on their CV about courses taken or development in the last 3 years.
What practical job search tips can you offer for things like CV updates? Also do you have to declare your age for applications?
There’s no need to include your date of birth or age on your CV and you can de-age it. Your CV doesn’t need to cover everything. You only need to go back 10-15 years unless an earlier job is relevant, and you can take the dates off your education.
Styles of CV change. Practical job search tips mean you need to be focused on the job and not on what you want. Change the opening section on your career objective, swap it for the key skills you can offer. You also need to be ready for shortlisting by technology and make sure that your CV includes the relevant key words.
What practical job search tips do you have for selling yourself at interview?
At interview, you need to be ready for competency-based questions so have specific answers focused around STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Make sure you come across as someone with energy and passion, not a bit jaded, no matter how many interviews you have done. Some negative stereotypes we need to address include:
We are resistant to change and inflexible
Some people are; they want things done the way they always have. Others are far too cautious to try anything new. We can address this through being active in social media, hence almost all 50+ jobseekers need to use LinkedIn effectively.
We also need to show enthusiasm to learn new things. Don’t just tell interviewers that you are flexible, have examples ready to share about how you have collaboratively solved problems and anything new you have recently got involved with.
We cannot or will not learn new skills
I regularly meet people who rest on the skills and qualifications gained 20+ years ago and do the minimum of professional development. In many jobs, you need to demonstrate proficiency, confirmed through completing a course or through some other type of learning.
If you’ve been away from a full-time job for a year, what do you need to do to make sure that your skills are up to date? Do you need to undertake a short course in using Excel? Are you familiar with the latest version of Office used in the workplace? On your CV, you should have a section called professional development, not just education, and include examples of how you are keeping your skills and knowledge up to date.
Be ready at interview to refer to what you have recently read in the business pages of a newspaper and professional journals such as The Grocer. It’s not just about work-related learning. You can be ready to discuss how you have e.g., recently started dance classes or are learning a foreign language or to program using Raspberry Pi.
We aren’t up to date with technology
There is a massive misconception that because we are 50+ we don’t do technology. You may have started working with PCs back in the 1980s and have a substantial underlying knowledge of technology from the days of DOS. Mature workers are the fastest-growing users of technology, but not all are; some people have never had to use computers in their work and lack confidence.
If you lack confidence you can attend a course or perhaps get a younger relative or college student to provide some one-to-one tuition. If you keep telling yourself that you don’t do technology, it is not helping you to get into the right state to learn. You need to understand about the different types of social media – LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Apart from LinkedIn (and you should have a link to this from your CV) you don’t need to set up your own account, but you need to understand what they are and use e.g., Twitter as part of your research. In our interview answers we can demonstrate our knowledge through referring to an article on their Twitter feed.
Are there particular businesses or types of work more welcoming to older women?
Many organisations encourage older applicants. Companies such as The Nationwide Building Society, Stoke on Trent College, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, JD Wetherspoon, Centrica, West Midlands Police, B&Q, John Lewis. They all report that over 50s stay longer and take less sick leave.
They’re like gold dust. Their experience and flexibility would be hard and costly to replace. AT Brown (Coaches) Ltd.
Come back next week for more practical job search tips.
Denise Taylor, Chief Inspiration Officer with www.the50pluscoach.co.uk Denise is the author of Find Work at 50+, published by Trotman.