Make Yourself Employable Over 50

By on November 18, 2014

Even when the economy is booming, being aged over 50 and looking for work can be a challenging experience. Unfortunately, the state of the jobs market in the post financial crisis world has only exacerbated this situation. Surveys have found that this age group is one that is the most difficult to find employment for.

What’s more, despite the fact that legislation exists to protect anyone over 40 from being discriminated against purely on the grounds of age, in practice many employers still openly flout the rules. For example, how many times have you felt that you have been put off with weak excuses when it is obvious that the only reason you have not been offered an interview is your age?

Fortunately there are specific steps you can take to help overcome such issues and persuade prospective employers that the experience you have gained throughout your working life will be of significant value should you be hired.

One of the most important is a resume that highlights how adaptable you are, itemizes all your achievements and details your transferable skills. Don’t just provide a chronological list of previous jobs – you need to be succinct in demonstrating how your abilities make you a candidate worthy of consideration.

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You should be prepared to acknowledge that there are certain tasks, for example heavy manual work, that you are unlikely to be able to carry out any longer. You should therefore target your search toward employment opportunities that require less physical effort. It may also be necessary to seek jobs that pay a lower salary than you have been used to in the past. Consider applying for positions that are not as senior as you previously enjoyed; remember, the prime aim is to get back into employment. Having found work you can then use your experience to your advantage when opportunities for promotion come along.

One alternative, which an increasing number of over 50s are exploring, is to become self-employed. Thanks to the Internet there are numerous opportunities available in a range of careers. Freelancing is popular, especially in sectors such as photography, writing and editing. You may also wish to consider taking control of your financial situation by embarking on a new career in investment. The industry has taken to the Internet in a big way and there are numerous websites offering software products designed specifically to make it easy for individuals with little or no experience to learn more about which types of investment options offer the best return. There are also online firms that employ financial experts who will advise you on how to make the most of your savings based on how risk averse you are.

Though many over 50s are computer literate and comfortable with email and social media sites, those who are not should either enroll on an organized course or ask friends and family for assistance. Remember, there are very few jobs around today that do not require at least a basic level of computer literacy. It is inevitable that other applicants for a job you are otherwise perfectly qualified for will have been using email and office applications for years.

The recruitment industry has changed significantly over the past few years. Recruitment agencies and prospective employers use a variety of online methods to identify and contact prospective candidates, so if you are unable to submit a résumé online it is highly unlikely you stand any chance of being considered. An even more recent development is that employers and recruitment agencies now actively seek out potential recruits by using social media sites such as LinkedIn. With this in mind you should seriously consider taking some time to develop a presence on such sites and update the content regularly.

Contact a career center and discuss precisely what type of job you are looking for and whether you intend to work full or part-time. Expert advisers will suggest some suitable options and help you put together an attention grabbing résumé. There are also websites that specialize in offering advice on how to prepare a winning résumé; if you have been working for the best part of 30 years, yours will probably stretch to four or five pages. While this may have been perfectly acceptable a decade ago, today’s employers are not willing to spend more than a couple of minutes on each application. What they are looking for now are single page résumés with bullet points detailing your key skills and achievements.

When it comes to the interview you should be prepared for curve ball questions that have no apparent relevance to the job. Prospective employers frequently bring into play a whole host of techniques, including personality assessments and psychometric tests, so don’t look surprised if something comes at you out of left-field.

mature African American woman in studyingOne final way to make yourself more attractive to potential employers is to join a training program relevant to the type of work you are seeking. Demonstrating that you are prepared to learn new skills or update existing ones is sure to look good on your résumé. As a starting point, search the Internet to find out if there are any free courses in your neighborhood.

Slowly but surely more and more employers are discovering that the over 50s tend to be more dedicated, have better attendance records, pay greater attention to detail and are be more adaptable than some of their younger colleagues.


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Make Yourself Employable Over 50