Today’s 50-somethings are like yesterday’s 30-somethings, those in their 50’s are in general young of heart, fit in body and even feeling that they can still conquer small kingdoms. But they are the ones you will typically find described in the self-help section of your local bookstore, your local mountain bike club, gym, yoga retreat and so on.
What happens when you find them in their CV’s, those young 50-somethings. One part of their lives full of energy and passion, the other part hunting the job market of 2021? The ones that will usually judge them in their CV’s will be the 30-something Recruitment Agent and HR Recruitment Specialist looking to finalise the shortlist for the vacant position from amongst a hundred applications received for the job on offer.
You may find the tips mentioned below helpful if you are one of the older cadres of job seekers.
Suppose there is an age bias in a particular industry. In that case, you need to do your research to establish that clearly, to avoid repeated disappointments on your job search journey. If that is primarily where your skills sets are, the earlier the reality check dawns on you, the better it will position you to avoid the formal application process in those industries favouring out of the box thinking.
Assuming the industry you apply to does not have an age bias and assuming your CV is top-notch, modern, catching the eye with a compelling covering letter, you crossed a significant milestone. Ensuring that your profile is visible on the most appropriate social media and other digital platforms where potential employers will be looking, is critical.
- Ensure you research the industry/sector for any signs of age bias and understand their recruitment methodologies. Search media to ensure your CV is modern, updated, eye-catching and posted on the right platforms, for those overworked scanning eyes compiling interview lists to discover you.
When invited to the sifting interviews and if you feel worried that your age might come up, you could be in danger of carrying yourself too young or too old, especially if the “competition” are those young enough to be your son or daughter. Dig deep to find your passion and energy and do not focus on your age as a disadvantage. Instead, focus on the strengths you have to offer the employer.
- Focus on the fact that your experience and emotional maturity are unique skills-sets the employer in your chosen industry/sector will evaluate as critical additions to their people culture.
You’ll probably be confronted with questions about seniority, salary and why you are available in the job market. Absolute honesty is paramount. If you had a relatively senior position with a high salary package, you would have to engage your mind about how flexible you are about working at lower seniority levels, perhaps more in a mentoring or consultancy capacity than the new boss. The challenge will be to convince the prospective employer that you can utilise your wide-ranging experience to their benefit. Seniority may not be number one on your wish list.
- Do a lot of introspection to understand yourself in terms of how flexible you are with those vital attributes of seniority and experience, which could work against you for a specific position.
Suppose you happen to be one of the “older” job seekers actively engaging with a market where there is an apparent oversupply of applicants for one job advertised. In that case, you can only rely on those things you can influence in your active search. Remind yourself of Stephen R Covey’s “Circle of Concern/Circle of Influence” to become more self-aware in your actions to be proactive in your search, by working on those things you can change (as the examples mentioned above).
Be aware of, but realise, that you should not spend energy on those things you have no influence over. For example, the company culture, the legislative issues around retirement age and so on. Don’t get demotivated entirely about the various “age-views” you will encounter on your search journey.
Remind yourself that there are specific strengths that your generation can add to any workplace, being a Boomer in your 50’s or a Xer in your 40’s, you grew up in a certain period of specific change; different leaders influenced your thinking. Make a point of becoming aware of your younger counterparts and bosses’ styles and backgrounds and use your emotional intelligence to illustrate how you can strengthen these differences for the potential employer’s good.
Remember, you are not too old to be hired. You are fit as a fiddle in your workout gear, clear in your mind and moulded by various work accomplishments.
Your passion for contributing and giving back to a new employer those skills and experiences you obtained over a productive and fulfilling career should be your key focus.
Think again and put yourself out there. Daunting, yes. But achievable.
Best of luck and use your accumulated wisdom, old friend!