When my uncle recently lost his job as a Tool Maker at the age of 54, he had a bleak outlook on his prospects of finding a new job at a similar level. It had been almost a decade since he had last interviewed for a job and he felt that prospective employers would overlook him due to this age.
My uncle’s fears and preconceptions of the job-market at over 50 were common ones. Age discrimination is undoubtedly a problem, in fact a survey by TotalJobs found that 88% of 51 – 60 year olds believed that putting their date of birth on their CV made it harder to get a job, and 73% believed they had been rejected from a position due to their age.
My advice is, don’t focus on what you can’t do, but on what you can. It’s important to look forward rather than back, and approach finding a new job with momentum. With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to share some advice on finding work after 50:
1. Know your value
If you have been working with the same company for a number of years, then it is important that you determine what someone with your background and experience is worth in today’s job market. Know that the number of years you served in your most recent job is likely to be reflected in your salary. Speaking to a Recruitment Consultancy is a fast and easy way to get an accurate reflection of market rates of pay, they spend all day speaking with companies and candidates, and should have their fingers on the pulse of current market rates.
2. Embrace Technology
These days looking for work in the classifieds of the paper won’t take you that far. The majority of jobs will be posted to online job boards, so ensure that you check them regularly. Consider setting up email alerts to let you know when jobs in your sector are posted. LinkedIn is also a useful tool; setting up an account allows you to demonstrate your experience and skills to those who view your profile, and lets you reach out to contacts within your target companies.
3. Use your age to your advantage
Make your age work for you. Age means experience and is an indicator of dependability, a level head, and strong work-ethic. Use your experience as a selling point to prospective employers, and draw on your past experience during interviews to differentiate yourself from less experienced competitors.
The better your preparation, the easier finding a new position will be. Here is a quick checklist to follow:
5. Is your CV up to scratch?
Your CV is all an employer has to go on to decide if you could be right for the position. Make sure that it showcases your relevant experience and skills, and is tailored for the job you’re applying for. If you’re unsure if your CV is up to scratch, Reactive Recruitment provides a free CV review service and can supply you with a template to follow.
6. Dress Appropriately
It’s important to be presented properly for an interview. Look at the clothes you intend to wear with fresh eyes and if they no longer fit correctly or don’t match the culture of the company you’re interviewing with, then spend some money and make your first impression count.
7. Do your research
Doing your homework on the company you want to work for is a great way of distinguishing yourself from competitors. Employers want to see that you have done your research and understand their business and where you will fit into it.
Often the fear of having to find a new job is much greater than the reality. By approaching your job hunt with momentum, preparation and persistence you can expect to be back in work sooner than later.