“Unfortunately, age is and will continue to be a much debated topic when it comes to job hunting. There can sometimes be the assumption that, when you reach a certain age, you may not be as fast or energetic in your role, but clearly this view needs to be changed.
For example, when it comes to advice pieces for candidates, there is often a focus on providing graduates or first time jobseekers tips for starting their career. But what about older applicants who are also struggling to find work?
The employment market is constantly changing. Take the sifting process for example, which is now increasingly carried out using technology that many jobseekers might not be so familiar with. Added to this, making any career move can be risky. Particularly if you’ve been in a job for a long time and are looking for a change, it can be scary to start applying for things and going through the interview stress again.
So what can older job hunters do to ensure they get the opportunities they deserve?
- You don’t have to mention your age, but don’t be defensive about it. Remember that you have previous work experience on your side, even if you are looking to move into a new sector. There are general skills such as organisation and people management which are transferable across sectors that other candidates might not have.
- Make sure you focus on your strengths, and clearly identify how your skills meet what the employer is looking for. If you’re able to review your key strengths and identify any weaknesses that you may have, you can then draw up an action plan to help you move forward in your career.
- Refresh your CV. This is particularly important if you have been in a role for a long period and haven’t updated your CV. Look back over your current role and how you’ve progressed – are there any new skills you’ve developed or have you taken on new responsibilities such as people management? If so make sure this is clear on your CV and tweak it to each application.
- To stand out from other applicants, show that you are willing to put in that extra effort and be proactive. For example, if it is relevant take a course to increase your expertise or get voluntary experience, particularly if you’re looking to change sector.
- If you are still finding it difficult, think of the other opportunities available. Self-employment is often considered an attractive option by older people who have struggled to get back into employment. The benefit is that having previous work experience, gives you access to many contacts you could potentially do business with as an individual rather than through employment.
Whatever happens, remember not to lose faith. If you feel you’re being discriminated against, it can be very easy to become defeatist.
Naturally, your confidence can drop if you aren’t having much luck with finding a job, but remember this happens to people of all ages – you’re not alone in this. And at the end of the day, don’t forget that with age comes experience, and this is something that sets you apart from other jobseekers.”