Mature age workers face certain barriers and age-related discrimination when finding a new job, regardless of their work experience. Despite the challenges and stigma around hiring older skilled and experienced employees, it makes good business sense for organisations to include them in their workforce.
According to a McCrindle ‘Job mobilitiy in Australia’ report, in the life of a school leaver today, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on 3 jobs before upskilling or career changing, this means they will also have five separate careers in their lifetime.
So while the average job tenure of those aged 45 and above is 6 years and 8 months, Australians aged under 25 will have an average tenure of 1 year and 8 months.
The inevitable job mobility trend is causing businesses to address the short tenure challenge and understand that the bulk of the workforce is following the lead of young people. But it also means companies are no longer overlooking older cohorts, in order to benefit from their preference for stability, job security and longer tenure.
So how can mature age workers maximise their chances of success in a job search and overcome these barriers? Here are key tips to successfully sell yourself to prospective employers.
Update your resume
With the job application process now largely online, one key factor has remained unchanged over time: a tailored, compelling resume.
Follow these practical tips to get your resume up to scratch:
- Where possible, limit your employment history to the last 10-15 years and/or focus on the top skills and experience that are the most relevant to the role
- If your university degree and relevant professional development courses were completed decades ago, avoid specifying dates
- Address any periods away from the workforce in your cover letter or at the interview, highlighting the skills you gained during that time
- Update your LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s job search ready. In many cases, this is as important as your resume itself, as hiring mangers and recruiters will use LinkedIn to filter job candidates
Open up your job search
If finding a suitable role is taking longer than anticipated, seriously consider expanding the scope of your job search. Could you transfer your skills to a new or related industry? Or are there jobs that provide a good work from home/flexible work arrangement that means you can open yourself up to roles in a different location?
If these options don’t suit your situation, consider these ways to keep your skills up to date, and take the pressure off while you search for your ideal type of work:
- Part time, casual, or contract/temporary employment
- Offering your services as a coach, mentor or tutor
- Consulting in your area of expertise
- Volunteer work
- Becoming a board member or community representative
While the alternative categories of work, above, may not be the permanent full-time role you are targeting, there are many cases of part-time roles or temporary employment turning into full-time opportunities. It’s best to enquire about this possibility before you apply or when you are contacted.
To maximise your appeal to potential employers, you need to convey an awareness of current industry developments, a commitment to continual learning and an aptitude for using the latest technology. Here are ways you can upskill and position yourself as a savvy and well-informed professional:
- Build your technology and computer skills with a short course
- Boost your experience with common business technology
- Read industry new and publications to stay up-to-date with the latest trends
- Join a professional association and attend industry events or webinars
- Upgrade an existing qualification, or invest in professional development to fill key skill gaps
Leverage your professional network
Many interviews for senior level positions are referred or generated by personal recommendations, which means networking can be key for mature age job seekers.
Let everyone in your personal and professional networks know that you are looking for a job: former colleagues, alumni, mentors, and family and friends. As well as sourcing potential job leads, you can also gain advice on prospective companies and positions currently, or about to be, on offer.
In a competitive job market, finding the right role can take months. Feelings of frustration and disappointment are natural. Stay positive and patient during this time, focusing on increasing your key strengths and experience to offer prospective employers. Project yourself as a motivated and upbeat professional who embraces change and is open to new challenges.
Looking for your next job opportunity? Explore our open roles, or get in touch with a Michael Page recruitment specialist.
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