Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Finding yourself seeking new employment as an older worker can be a daunting prospect. For many job seekers, it may have been years since they last sought alternative employment and the fear of age-related discrimination can feel very real.
It’s important to recognise that we are all unique and regardless of age, we all have skills and talents to offer prospective employers. Yes, some employers hold biases and myths against older workers however, if you approach your job search with a belief that your age will be the barrier to your success, it most likely will be.
So, let’s look to tackle this head-on.
Age-proof your CV
You can overcome the perception that your age is an issue by age-proofing your CV. Do not include your date of birth and limit how far you go back chronologically. Including any experience from over 15 years ago is often outdated unless it is specifically relevant to the job you are applying for. In terms of your education, comment on your highest academic achievement and leave out your graduation date, unless of course it is recent.
Ensure that you are using contemporary language and keywords that are relevant to the job that you are applying for. For example, choose to use the term ‘formatted documents’ rather than ‘typed documents’. Also, whilst it’s fine to say “experienced”, avoid saying “over 25 years of experience”.
Create an eye-catching CV
A common mistake job seekers’ make is that they simply add their most recent job to an already out-dated and old-fashioned CV. The likelihood is that your CV will need a complete overhaul if it was created years ago. Take the time to optimise your job search with a CV that employers will want to read. Also, tailor your CV each time you apply for a job. It may be time-consuming, but it will be worth it.
Clarify the value you have to offer and your professional growth
You have vast experience and value to offer a prospective employer, so showcase your best attributes, accomplishments and transferable skills - especially the ones that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Many older workers are understandably seen as ‘expensive’ by prospective employer’s therefore, demonstrating the value you have to offer and the difference you will make to their business is absolutely vital.
It’s also important to show how you’ve developed professionally and improved throughout your career by including accomplishments that reflect personal growth. If you have been with a company for a number of years and have been promoted, include previous job titles as well as more recent ones so your history of advancement is clear.
Show that your skills are up-to-date
Just because you may be of a certain age it doesn’t mean that you lack the technology skills. It’s important that you highlight this in your CV. Ensure that you refer to the latest version of software (if applicable). Showcase all of your technological experience and training that’s relevant to your industry and the job you are applying for.
Also, include any other training you have completed, seminars and conferences you have attended and involvement with any professional organisations that can be strong indicators that you’ve continued to learn and develop new skills.
Take an interest in the future
The pace of change can be felt across all industries. One of the biggest fear’s employers have is recruiting new staff that are not adaptable to the changing marketplace. Show them that you have a genuine interest in the future of their business by demonstrating that you not only have a keen desire to keep your skills up-to-date, but also recognise some of the challenges their industry may be facing.
Don’t give up
Keep in mind that it’s not just you who is having a challenging job search. Job searching typically isn’t always easy, regardless of how old you are. It may take a while to find a job, but there are employers who understand the value of an older worker who offers maturity, life experience and strong skills.