In the heart of the recruitment industry, I’ve frequently found myself attuned to the struggles and challenges of the more mature job seeker (typically 50 years plus). Through these interactions, a prevailing sentiment has emerged: the daunting task of competing with a younger workforce and the often-present need to affirm one’s professional worth. Whether propelled by passion, necessity, or a combination of both, individuals in this age bracket often find themselves confronting certain misconceptions about their work ethos and capabilities. This article aims to empower and guide those job seekers over 50, offering insights on how to effectively present their vast experience and counter any reservations a recruiter might hold.
To all of you navigating this journey: I see you. Ageism in the job market can be deeply disheartening, but let’s change the narrative. Let’s champion your decades of expertise as your foremost asset.
1. Rebrand, Don’t Reinvent:
Shift your focus from changing your essence to presenting your abundant experience in today’s context. Your CV should spotlight your achievements and their impacts for the organisations you’ve worked for, rather than just a chronological list of roles.
Remember that AI is used by the majority of hiring teams and recruiters to sift through thousands of CVs and Linkedin profiles to refine their searches. So ensure that you job titles, skills, achievements and education are clearly listed on your CV and profiles to boost your chances of being found.
2. Embrace Continuous Learning:
The modern world demands ongoing education. Engage in upskilling or reskilling through online platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, or LinkedIn Learning. This not only enhances your skills but signals adaptability and initiative.
It is often wrongly assumed by recruiters that more mature job seekers might have trouble learning new technology. Make sure you list what you have used in the past on your CV (and Linkedin profile) and discuss these if you have the chance in your interview.
Furthermore, get familiar with AI concepts and the basics of prompt engineering, this will also demonstrate to employers that you are willing to couple your experience with modern tools!
If you feel unsure about modern technology, consider an online course as mentioned above.
3. Lean on Your Network:
Your extensive professional network is invaluable. Reignite old connections, engage in meaningful conversations, and explore opportunities. A personal recommendation can often make a world of difference.
If you’re up for it, get active on Linkedin, if you’re not already. Give insights and engage with other people’s posts.
4. Highlight Soft Skills:
Whilst younger counterparts might excel in the latest tech tools, soft skills are your stronghold. Your years have honed your communication, problem-solving, and adaptability. Ensure these are at the forefront during discussions.
Show where you can contribute to enhance the ability of the team.
It can be a common concern amongst hiring teams that mature employees might not respond to feedback favourably. Ensure you actively listen, share your insights and establish constructive dialogue. This is also the case if you’re giving feedback.
5. Prepare for Modern Interviews:
Familiarise yourself with prevalent virtual interview platforms. Have STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) responses at the ready to showcase how your experiences have led to tangible, positive outcomes.
If you work with a recruiter, they should be able to help you with this to prepare you for your interview.
6. Challenge Ageism Head-on:
Take the initiative in interviews to discuss the depth of your experience. Emphasise how your seasoned perspective can be an unmatched asset to younger teams, offering mentoring opportunities and unparalleled wisdom.
Be sure you can do the work that the role requires you to do, and address any special accommodations that might be necessary. A proactive attitude is seen as a good thing so by bringing up any potential limitations (we all have them!) during the interview, you can set the right expectations to avoid surprises further down the line.
Remember, you need it to be a good fit for you too!
7. Consider Flexible Roles:
Beyond full-time roles, explore part-time, consultancy, or freelance positions. They might not only serve as your entry point but also offer a more favourable work-life balance.
8. Self-care and Mindset:
Prioritise your well-being. The job hunt can be mentally taxing. Remember, you’re not merely ‘as good’ as younger candidates—you bring a unique, invaluable mix of skills and insights to the table.
In conclusion, to all seasoned professionals out there: Your age signifies resilience, adaptability, and a wealth of knowledge. Believe that your experience sets you apart, and showcase that in your CV and during your interview. We are more than happy to help if you are currently on the job hunt. Reach out to us, and we’ll see what we can do!