Mature Job Hunting

If you’re over 50, jobs are sometimes hard to come by. You can do a lot about that, and there are a few extra options where your experience can pay for itself well.

Most over 50s, when looking for work, have some “disadvantages”, according to business folklore.

People in their 20s and 30s don’t necessarily feel comfortable with older staff, particularly experienced staff, who know their jobs from a lot of real situations. In some cases, mature job hunters know their jobs better than the people hiring them, so they’re considered a threat.

The age factor is also misleading. To people in their 20s, 40 or 50-something is incomprehensible. You’re like their parents.

Mature age employment facts

  • It’s illegal to discriminate against someone on grounds of age.
  • There are mature age job hunting networks specializing in work for older staff.
  • Some employers do have mature age hiring programs, as to some of the larger government departments and other public bodies.
  • There are “Re Entering The Work Force” programs in most countries.
  • There is, despite bad employment practices, a need for experienced staff, in all industries. (Recently, even American manufacturing has recognized that.)
  • Some jobs just can’t be done by inexperienced people who simply haven’t had the time to encounter the really complex situations.

Important considerations for mature age job hunters

Technology

There’s a myth that older people aren’t good with technology. Make sure you can demonstrate your skills with whatever technology or software is involved in the job. You should, if you haven’t previously, get training in relevant software and hardware in your industry, and stay up to date.

Knowledge

Your experience and job skills are major assets, but you’re working for someone else. Tact and discretion is required when dealing with people who don’t have your level of expertise, particularly in interviews.

A few basic rules:

  • Don’t be “authoritative” at your employer or interviewer. Be low key, make good points, and above all ask questions, so you show you’re looking for information and using their knowledge.
  • Don’t be old-fashioned. Remember how irritating that was?
  • Don’t talk down to people, even unintentionally. You have the experience and knowledge, but respect is an important part of any relationship, particularly in the workplace.
  • Make it clear that your skills have positive applications, that you can add value to the workplace, and that you’re a truly competent person in your role.
  • Remember that younger people are at a disadvantage themselves, when dealing with older people with more experience. They lack the perspective you have from your experience.

Try and see it from their side. How would you feel, hiring your parents or their friends? Age scares some people. Make it a painless experience for them.

Experience

  • You have the experience, but you will need to prove relevance to the current job and the business environment.
  • You need also to show that your knowledge is up to date, throughout an interview, and on the job.
  • Don’t downplay the value of that experience, but be selective about where it applies to the job. Yes, you’ve done that, you know how to do this, when the topics arise.

Qualifications

It’s a natural risk that you will find yourself applying for jobs which strictly speaking you’re overqualified to do.

Your qualifications will be in your CV. They’ve read it, they already know about your educational background. If they aren’t mentioned, just make the point when you get asked what you’d like to add.

Your reason for wanting the job should be clear. Ideally, it’s part of your career, you miss the work, you want to do more, you’re enthusiastic about getting back into the workforce.

In some cases, you can also say that you want first hand, current experience, and you want to develop your skills further.

Other job opportunities for mature age job seekers

Because of your level of experience, you have a few advantages, too.

You can work as a consultant in some industries, and on project work. This is demanding, but it’s good work, pays well, and for highly qualified people it’s a natural progression to the top line of their professions.

In these cases, you’re being hired as an expert in your field, and/or someone who has special knowledge and skills relevant to the work.

In other words, your age is an asset, not a liability.

That’s the best possible criteria for job hunting for mature age people.

Your experience is working for you, now.