Calling all older workers

Mature workers have an edge they may not appreciate. They’re experienced, reliable, have a strong work ethic, have potential to mentor younger colleagues, have existing credibility with customers, and are statistically less likely to take a day off sick.

So why not harness those advantages and follow these rules for slam dunking the job search process?

Try these tips:

  1. Downplay the dates by using a skills based CV. You’ve had a long career; there’s really no need for anyone to know that you got your degree in 1976, or was a manager by the late 1970s. A skills-based CV draws the organisation’s attention to your experience not your age. But find a balance, says Mark Robinson of Allerton Recruitment, between dates and skills. If you leave all the dates out you might draw the recruiters attention to the exact fact that you’re trying to avoid.
  2. List those skills. You’ve no doubt developed problem solving, management skills over the years and knowledge that younger people won’t have. Alpha Recruitment’s managing director Colin Mathieson says to get a copy of the job description and employee specification. “Tick off your experience and be ready to give examples of where you've undertaken similar work.” Sell yourself on these skills.
  3. Network like mad. You’ve worked with hundreds of people over the years and made all sorts of contacts in your industry. This is the time to cultivate those networks and perhaps reinvent yourself. Befriend on social media all those people from your long lost networks and communicate with them. Tweet and post on forums to raise your profile in the industry.
  4. Do your research. Plenty of organisations value mature workers. Ask around, find out which organisations have lots of people your age on their books and target them. If you have a specific job in mind find out what the job entails, and what the organisation or interviewer wants in an employee and make sure you look and sound the part on interview day.
  5. Be prepared. Mathieson says it’s all about the five Ps: "prior preparation prevents poor performance”. Like your days in Scouts or Guides many years ago “BE PREPARED” for any question your employer may throw at you. If it’s the “you’re overqualified” gem, tell them that you’ve considered this issue, but know that your experience will be a tremendous asset to the organisation and that you’re committed to this role. 
  6. Be positive. Attitude is so important, says Mathieson. If you go into the interview believing that you’re the right person for the job you’re much more likely to be employed. Smile, look your interviewer in the eye and show that you like him or her. Before the interview remember all those compliments people have paid you, the positive statements in your references and past performance reviews, say Mathieson. “Confidence breeds confidence. If you are confident the interviewer will pick it up. So smile and be positive about yourself. It’s contagious.”

Whatever you do, think winning thoughts. There really is a job out there for you. You might just need to shop in a different aisle to find it. 

“Confidence breeds confidence. If you are confident the interviewer will pick it up. So smile and be positive about yourself. It’s contagious.”