Is this your first foray into finding employment in your 50s or are you a seasoned pro who knows her way around recruitment? Maybe you are thinking you don’t stand a chance against the younger more hungry candidates, or maybe you feel companies have evolved with considerable and complicated “high tech” equipment and you have a very “low tech” brain. Whatever the reason you are reading this post because you want answers to the question “How to find a job when you are over 50”
Finding A Job In Your 50’s & 60’s
- Keep active & Up to date in your Profession
- Networking is key – including events, expos Zoom etc
- Show you understand IT (lots of You Tube Videos for support)
- Embrace & Deal With Change
- Apply Online – Using portals like LinkedIn & Indeed
- Your CV has to be Top Notch – Ageless, limit the length
- Write a Great Cover Letter
- BE proud of your experience – show age is an asset
- BE CONFIDENT – (Even if you’re not)
- Be prepared & Interview ready
- 2nd Interview – How to ensure its you
- Don’t be Precious about Job Title
- Consider Temporary work
- Be clear about what you can and may like to do
1/ Keeping Active & Up to Date in your Profession
The world seems to move at an alarming pace, your profession may be one of those which grows and moves in days rather than weeks. For example, one new update, a change in direction, a new management structure, or a myriad of these types of things can mean your profession looks different to how it did just weeks ago, never mind months. At the time of writing, this many of you are either working from home, furloughed, or realizing that you want to change your horizons.
It’s worthwhile keeping an eye on the movers and shakers, the news and continues to be learning what is new and soon to be new. Your confidence will be on more stable ground when going or interview if you are up to date.
2/ Networking – All Platforms
This is as simple as continuing to update and keep on top of your social media, attending free or available “Zoom Meetings” online Expos. and online conferences. Right now you can attend a conference thousands of miles away where up to now would have been out of your reach both financially and distance-wise. Take full advantage of the spaces being offered “free of charge” or small entrance charge. By attending and keeping up the attendance will keep you networking and in front of those who may next be reading your CV/Resume
3/ Embrace and Deal with Change
Mindset is required in bucket loads. if, like me, you don’t like change then this will be one of the hardest topics to work with. As a “glass half full” type of person, I always try to look at the positive. This year (2020) has been a tough one, but there is a great deal of positive, despite the loss. trying to see the positive will often begin with a simple exercise “Gratitude” At the start of every day begin by saying 3 things I am grateful for today. Saying it loud, (maybe even the small things) will inevitably change your mindset and you will naturally feel more positive.
You may be apprehensive or anxious about the change your future life may look like. But entering it positively and with confidence, belief will have an inevitable ripple effect on your ability to embrace and deal with change.
4/ Show you understand IT & are Tech Savvy
One of the wonderful benefits of living in the noughties and now 20s, is the wealth of information available on the internet. Today more than any other time in our history we can learn and master things which up to now would have been out of our depth and not accessible unless we attended “Education & Learning classes”
Over the internet you can learn many applications, there are tutorials in areas you never even new existed, let alone having the opportunity to become knowledgeable and an expert.
If you are a little out of practice in a given area or a complete novice, perhaps now is the time to start your tutorials, your research and if necessary investment in your education (online courses etc) The young have an insatiable appetite for all things online you just need to be Tech Savvy. This too will give your confidence a huge boost.
There are some good online companies that teach and offer tutorials from the complete beginner to the IT whizz kid.
A company I highly rate and for whom you could one day work as a freelancer is Skill Share Click on the link to read more.
5/ Apply Online
Starting with Google, you can now search for a multitude of careers and jobs. However, if this becomes to overwhelming then consider narrowing it down to two or three companies.
Linkedin is a name most people are familiar with and they offer opportunities to both employer and self-employed/employee alike. They also offer training so this would work hand in hand with your “online learning”
Another popular choice is Indeed, they are more an online recruitment company but offer lots of additional benefits and have a huge and diverse skill sector which you can tap int. They can offer guidance and show you how to write a readable CV.
6/ Now you need a great CV/Resume
Your CV has to be top-notch, so what can you do to set it apart from the hundreds of others which will inevitably arrive on your new “would-be employer’s” desk.
Ideally two or possibly 3 pages long. Keep your age out of it at this stage. No gaps (or if there are gaps explain why) If you are in your 50s then perhaps your first few jobs (unless relevant) can remain in the “further detail should you require”
My background is in recruitment and I have seen many great CV’s and many not so good but where the experience is exceptional. My advice each and every time is to use a professional CV writer. It’s the difference between decorating your own house or using a professional.
A reasonably priced and great service is a company called Fiverr, they provide many writing services check them out
They do this for a living, day in and day out and will know what the market wants to see. It will cost between $50-$100, it is the best investment you can make in terms of getting your CV on the top of the pile and invited in for an interview. Work with them in terms of allowing them to tailor it each and every time you apply for a different job, using the “would-be employer” very own job spec. “Tailoring” may only cost an additional 10 or so dollars.
7/ Covering Letter.
This is an, A4 concise and punchy letter simply explaining why you want the job and why you feel you are suitable. Your personality needs to come through at this point. Keep it professional, and do your research about the company to whom you are applying, dropped into the covering letter (eg, new management, new locations, etc) you can highlight how your experience which will (hopefully) enhance the new direction the company are taking.
Another option is to have the CV writer also write your covering letter. This may seem like overkill but on receipt of the Covering Letter you can always slightly tailor your letter to make it appear more personal.
8/ Be proud of your experience and show how age is an asset.
These days there are many companies who recognize and welcome “lived experience” who understand the asset that age can bring and far from discriminate they actually prefer a person with life experience.
A few years ago At age 57, I changed my career path, from working in the Travel Industry (for the previous 23 years) to Drug and Alcohol Counselor in a prison. It took months of interviews and gaining relevant clearance but never the less I applied for an “apprenticeship” and started my training. I gained my Counselor level 2 & 3 together with training to work in a closed environment. The company with whom I applied cared not one jot about my age simply about my experience with life and people. Historically the role is performed by an older person and have very few drug and alcohol workers under the age of 30 and fewer still working in a Men’s prison.
It is your “mindset” how you come across that will encourage your potential employer to see you as an asset regardless of age. Be proud of the life you have lived.
Check out this post. “How to Live Your Best Life – No Regrets”
9/ Be confident, even when you’re not.
This is the old adage, “Fake it Till You Make It” so many of us are winging it, more than you can imagine. Many (myself included) suffer with “impostor syndrome” meaning we don’t think we are good enough or have got where we are by accident or simply a fluke. Mindset (again that word) plays a huge part in this. Fear and anxiety of the unknown can often be our biggest block. But what happens when we face that fear, what happens when we do just “do it anyway”
Walking into a room full of strangers, or attending an interview where you feel under qualified, facilitating a group or taking charge of a group of people, may take you to the edge of your comfort zone. So fake it till you make it is sound advice. Only you know how fearful you are, just don’t let it show.
10/ Be Prepared & Interview ready.
This requires you do the research prior to the interview. You need to know and understand how the company work, what is important to them and their ethos. Read and re-read the job spec so when you are interviewed you can give a really good account of your experience and passions which combine those which have been mentioned in the job spec.
Dress accordingly for the position,
look them in the eye, or indeed include all those in the room when answering, (if more than one person)
Be ready for the questions: (some of which may include)
* Why do you want this job?
* Why do you think we should offer this to you?
* Why are you leaving your current or previous employment?
(this is not a trick question)
You should refrain from bad comments or colluding in any way about your previous company. In fact, you can actually speak positively about them. Be honest abut why growth does not seem possible or indeed why you left or are thinking of leaving. It really ought not to be just about the money.
* Do you have any questions? “No you have answered them all” shows little imagination or possibly indicates a lack of confidence, they will want you to ask questions, they will have not been able to answer everything during the first interview and therefore if its important you ask. They may have even left a few key areas out, which when you ask about they may say. “Glad you asked”
The first part of the interview is likely to be your interviewer telling you about the company, the position, the career path, the training on offer, even possibly the benefits, it is during which you will think of some questions directly linked, or indeed something you may have considered prior to walking into the interview.
Whilst they will not wish to hear, “no I think you have answered everything” they will equally not wish you to keep asking about small detail, or questions which will naturally arrive at the second interview. (like salary and benefits) keeping a balance
* What are your salary expectations?
Do your research, know your worth and don’t undersell yourself, equally know their worth and what they are prepared to pay for this position. Keep your expectations real but not unnecessarily high or low.
The salary question is likely to reappear in your 2nd interview, at which point you can ask your own questions about this.
11/ How Do you Ensure You Get the 2nd Interview
You have listened. (remember their names)
Use their names but not overtly
You have engaged well with them
You have answered their questions, honestly and succinctly. You have not wandered down alleys and given more information than required.
You have not fidgeted
You have met their job spec,
You have interviewed well and confidently
You have asked your own questions.
You Know your own worth and never undersell yourself.
You have refrained from talking negatively about anything
You have not been drawn into discussing controversial subjects and you have not been afraid to move the subject on, tactfully.
You clearly indicate you want this position and you have let them know when you are available to start.
If you genuinely want this position and it shows, you will get this 2nd interview. Equally, do not appear needy or desperate.
12/ Don’t be precious about job title.
In a previous role, you may have had a position that included multi-faceted workload or possibly responsibility and or “Manager” in your job title and a team of people whom you managed.
In today’s world, the work environment looks very different and many roles have changed, almost unrecognisably, many positions now work from home.
To enable you to comfortably fit and work in 2020 and get to grips with a different way of working a huge shift in your mindset may need to take place. Your role may not include the responsibility you previously had or indeed it may include considerably more.
Targets. Most employees and employers are used to statistics and targets, your new position may well have every aspect of your role targeted, (especially if you work from home), this may not sit comfortably with you, but it will be something you will get used to so don’t let this aspect or the job title or the spec put you off accepting.
13/ Consider Temporary Work
may not have been an option you had previously considered but It may well be worth your while considering contract, temporary work or even a role outside of your usual remit.
Consider it as a “fill-in” whilst you wait for the role you actually desire, or whilst you get your online or own business off the ground
14/ Be clear about what you can and would like to do
Whilst in the previous subheading I have suggested being flexible about your options, this does not suggest you should do anything you are not comfortable with or outside of your work ethics.
We all have boundaries and these need to be crystal clear in our own minds. This in turn will ensure you know what you are prepared to forgo and what you are not.
If the company itself does not appeal to your social ethics then don’t apply.
Research is essential, you do not want to be in a position that leaves you perplexed and unhappy
Hopefully, if you have read to this part of the article or the bits that appeal, you should by now feel a little more confident about going out into the workplace a mature and self-assured woman who has much to offer.
If you take nothing else away from this post except just one point, then let it be “mindset”
If you liked this post or if you would like to look at starting a new career, check out Starting A New Career At 60, Is It Too Late
I would welcome your thoughts, and others will benefit from your experiences of the recruitment process.
Thank you for reading
Founder of Hey Spring Chicken
Images – Pixabay
CV image- Mohammed Hussan
Graphic Images – Graphic Mama
Networking – Geralt
Affirmation Image John Hain
We Can Do It – Public Domain