|Job Search Advice for Mature Job
As if searching for a job didn’t have enough challenges,
job seekers of a certain age have a unique set of challenges
that make it even tougher to find a job. I will cover some
of the obstacles older job seekers face as well as how to
tackle them and be seen as a viable candidate. For the sake
of the article let’s put our job seeker at age 50 and above.
There are as many reasons why someone over 50 is looking for
a job as there are for someone under 50 but that doesn’t
seem to favor the older job seeker. They might be coming out
of retirement, phasing into retirement and looking for a
less demanding role, been laid off, or are simply looking
for a new professional opportunity. With the average
retirement age now at 67, more workers are staying in the
workforce longer therefore increasing the number of job
seekers over age 50. The good news is that someone of this
age looking for a job is becoming more and more common and
is not the rarity it once was. However, there still remains
some misconceptions about hiring someone over 50.
Common misconceptions about older workers:
- They may not be able to handle the demands of the
job as well as someone younger. Who is to say that a
younger employee could handle the specifics of a
position? Only the applicant can know whether they can
meet the physical requirements of a job and it should
not be decided on age alone.
- Older = experienced = higher salary. Many higher
managers are afraid that an older candidate would
require a higher rate of pay than a younger worker.
However, this may not necessarily be the case with
someone who is looking to come out of retirement or
scale back their career.
- They are not as current with today’s technology and
have a hard time picking up new technological advances.
Regardless of age, not everyone is proficient at every
skill. If this is the case for you make an effort to get
yourself familiar with technology.
- They will not stick around long if they are hired so
why bother. It is no longer common for someone to be
hired and retire from the same company; if anything
younger job seekers are more likely to search out the
next career opportunity.
- They will not be able to be managed, especially if
they were in management themselves. Hiring managers may
have a hard time understanding why you want to go from
being the boss to working for the boss but many older
workers are more than ready to step back and assume a
less demanding role.
If a mature job seeker
feels that their age has been holding them back in their job
search there are some things they can do to increase their
chance of success:
- Do not give any indication of your age on your
resume. Remove all dates from your education (this is a
good rule for all job seekers) and limit your career
history to the last fifteen years. Do not use phrases
such as “30+ years of experience” and avoid words
including: mature, seasoned, or senior. Anything that
hints of your age on your resume will influence the
hiring manager’s perception of you.
- If you have gray hair, an outdated hairstyle,
old-fashioned attire, or yellow teeth consider a
makeover. These are all relatively easy fixes and while
they may seem superficial they unfortunately can
unfairly stand in the way of getting a job. So update
your hairstyle, invest in a new interview suit and grab
a box of white strips.
- Spend some time learning the difference between
Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These social media
sites have become standard in business. Showing that you
are up on the latest trends can increase your value in
the eyes of a hiring manager.
Fortunately the Age Discrimination in Employment Act was
developed to assist job seekers by addressing and
prohibiting certain age related practices. (You can read the
Unfortunately not all age discrimination is obvious and you
may not even be aware that it is occurring. By addressing
the challenges that I wrote about above you can reduce the
chances of your age being a factor in your job search.