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Over 50's Common Job

Hunting Mistakes





Julie Measures, Training Manager at multi-sector recruiter Barker Ross, offers some advice on the issues surrounding job-hunting over 50, who may be struggling to find new positions in this difficult economic climate.


Applying for a job can be a scary prospect and in the current job market it is true that yes, often older candidates have to work harder to overcome barriers, and no, it's not fair. But that doesn't mean every employer is determined to shut out all candidates over 35.



The most recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that nationally the job market is improving, and this means that more jobs are available for job hunters.


There are however some key points that over 50's should take note of when applying for work.


1) Have a Relevant CV


The biggest mistake to make is to include too much information in your CV. It is important to clear the clutter - remove the irrelevant information from your CV that is unspecific to the position you are applying for. You should instead, adjust your CV to the job you're applying for each time to show that you have relevant experience. A couple pages and 12 years of relevant experience is more than enough to sell yourself to an employer.


2) Use Your Age to Your Advantage


Age can often be a useful tool when applying for jobs because it implies experience - with age comes dependability, wisdom, fortitude, a strong work ethic, dedication, promptness, a wealth of knowledge and skills, resilience, organisational and communication skills. You may also have good customer service skills and the ability to advise and train younger staff. For the employer your past behaviour is the best indicator of your future performance so think about key accomplishments throughout your career and use them to promote yourself.


3) Using Contacts


Often contacts and networking are invaluable to getting a job and it's perfectly acceptable to contact former co-workers, employers, school friends and other colleagues you haven't been in touch with for quite some time. (The use of sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn has made finding them a much easier task). Even if it doesn't immediately lead to a job, broadening your contacts is always a positive step on your career ladder and you never know whom you'll be put in contact with.



4) Being Unprepared for the Interview


Practice is key - if you haven't interviewed in a while, it's important to practice and review your interview skills. It would be useful to find a relatively young professional (recruitment consultants fit this bracket well) and ask them to interview you and give you feedback. It is important to listen and learn, as your interviewer will have more relative interview experience in recent years than you will.


5) Don't Have an Attitude


Although it may at times be tempting, one of the most damaging things to do in an interview is acting as if you are too good to be interviewed by an interviewer who's younger than you or showing up with your own personal grudge or grievance. It's easy to think -"I've done it all before" and "it should be done a different way" but if you really want the job these thoughts need to be left at home and you need to be fully focussed on getting the job.


6) Don't be Afraid to Embrace the Internet


Computer skills and the ability to utilise the internet in order to get a job is becoming increasingly important and it is crucial to take advantage of social media websites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) - these social media platforms show that regardless of your age you are up to date with the latest technology. This will aid you no end for convincing interviewers that you have the ability to work and interact with younger co-workers and excel in today's constantly changing workplace.



7) Feelings of Being Overqualified


Often when employers see candidates applying for a position that is below their experience level, questions immediately arise. It is therefore important that if you're going for a position with a lower wage or responsibility than you've experienced in previous jobs, it's your job to explain in your cover letter and the interview why this is. For example: "What is most important to me in at this stage of my life is having the ability to work in a company where there is outstanding opportunity and where I believe that my relevant skills and experience will make a real impact."


However if being overqualified for a position is really a pill that you can't swallow, there are alternatives such as, targeting non-profit organisations where your experience will make a significant impact, or applying to small companies that are looking to expand and could use your expertise in order to do so. The public sector also uses application forms that ensure equality - so older candidates have an equal chance of getting their foot in the door as any other candidate.


As a multi-sector recruiter, looking for both temporary and permanent candidates, we are always looking for people of all ages to fill vacancies, as because we have excellent long term relationships with many of our clients, we can quickly assess which businesses might get the best out of you.


My last thought is not to dismiss temporary work whilst you are looking for a permanent position. Many of our temporary workers have found permanent positions, by starting off working for a company as a temp. It gives a company the chance to get to know you and you can demonstrate all the advantages your experience can bring to them.


Suzanne Orsler, Tel 07813 131350, smorsler@gmail.com
Jackie Moore, Tel 07595 893476, jackiemoore@barkerross.co.uk




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