On an increasingly young and volatile labour market, it can be difficult for people over 50 to find a new job. But what exactly is the reason that finding a new job for over-50s is becoming increasingly difficult? You will need to deal with a lot of prejudices, which I am going to list below. On the other hand, there are enough reasons for an employer to hire someone of 50 years or older. Read more and I will inform you how to find a job, even when you are over 50.
There are a number of factors that prevent employers from accepting over-50s. To give you an insight of how companies might think, here are the prejudices many employers have about the elderly:
- They are more expensive than young people and may have more financial demands.
- They are slow and have little energy, or may have burned out.
- They do not want and can hardly learn.
- They are difficult or impossible to shape and inflexible. They hardly bend with new policies and their willingness to change is low. (Let alone their willingness to move.)
- They have a problem if their supervisor is (considerably) younger.
- They are unmotivated,cannot move ahead, except for golf and for volunteering.
You can try to trace the true reason for rejection but more often than not it only generates vague relpies. Now you can bring such an employer to court, but submitting sound evidence is another matter, and landing that job will not be easy, if not impossible.
What can you do about it?
With the proper preparation, however, it does not need to be hopeless at all. Please consider the eight tips below.
Just start with the necessary homework: what important tasks and responsibilities does the vacancy refer to? If these are not reported in the vacancy text or the profile description, call the contact person. Then list your knowledge and experience here point by point. Maybe they fit seamlessly with the profile and you can convince the employer.
Your first (or second) contact with the potential employer is a short telephone interview. You mainly emphasize what your relevant and concrete experiences can all mean for the employer. Maybe you bring in a strong network!
You can only attack when the employer becomes concrete. For example, if you hear that you will be too expensive, ask about what the function pays. And then let you know that that is an amount that you can live with. You can also mention your flexibility and willingness to invest in yourself.
If the employer is tryingto find out about your age (which he will undoubtedly get from your CV at a later stage) then ask why that is so important. What is it about your expertise and experiences?
It helps of course if you know yourself. If an organization for a ‘young and dynamic’ team is looking for a companion, and you are not so peeping anymore and rather slow, you will immediately have to drop out.
Consider your benefits to the company
How can you, as a parent, convince recruiters and employers? By simply pointing out these benefits:
- You are not a job hopper, but you will remain loyal to the company, through thick and thin.
- You are not distracted by family problems and young children.
- You know yourself well, stand firmly in your shoes and in the world, and are able to estimate risks and opportunities realistically, nor do you have to prove yourself.
- You do not have to backpack in Australia for half a year or longer.
- Your private costs are relatively low ; you have a low mortgage and the children have already left the house.
Oh, and by the way, there is no need to hide your age in your application. Some elderly people think they have found the solution in omitting their birth year. This seems a handy move, but will always backfire on you.
Here are the eight tips.
1. ‘I’ll never get a job again’
The ‘no longer believing in it’ attitude can be a pitfall for the over-50s. They are sometimes afraid of not finding a job anymore, because they are ‘already too old for this labour market’. That’s a shame. It is a matter of delving into new ways of looking for work. This is shifting more and more towards social media, including LinkedIn, and job vacancy sites. By using the right channels, the chance of success increases. And most importantly: do not wait with applying, but start immediately. Are you afraid that you will lose your job, for example through reorganisation? Or do you notice that you are less interested and you are ready for something new? Get started! If you are still working at the time of applying for a job, this increases your chances of success.
2. Focus on your talents, not on your flaws
And if you are going to apply, then it is important, as for all ages, that you focus on your strengths. Do not compare yourself with the younger generation, but look at where you, as a 50-plus, can make a difference for an organization. For example, focus on:
3. Experience: you know what’s up
In the meantime you have gained a lot of life and work experience. You have seen people come and go. You know what works and does not work. In other words, you know the ropes. You do not just let yourself go crazy and you can get started right away.
4. Involvement: not easily bored
Millennials are characterised by being more volatile, they get bored faster. With your experience and previous successes and results you can show how involved you are in carrying out tasks and projects.
5. Stability: bye bye rush hour phase
Your home situation is probably stable. You have passed the ‘rush hour phase’, you probably do not have young children anymore, know yourself better and know what you want.
6. Productivity: familiar with the matter
Thanks to your experience gained in your field, you can make certain tasks easier for yourself. You are familiar with the material and are therefore much faster on the road and therefore: productive.
7. Loyalty: no jobhopper
Where many millennials are labelled as job hoppers, you have shown that you are loyal. You do not change jobs whenever there are issues, but try to make the best of every situation, both from your job and from the organisation you work for.
8. Widely applicable: assist where necessary
As a 50-year-old you have probably had on average 3 to 15 different jobs, including often different functions. In addition to the job with corresponding tasks for which you have been hired, you can also easily liaise with colleagues in times of need. That makes you versatile.
Tips from the professionals: recruiters & intermediaries
It is therefore primarily a positive mindset; if you yourself no longer believe in it, why would someone else still do that? But, in addition to a positive mindset, there are other things that you can pay attention to when you apply as a 50-plus. I asked consultants and recruiters for tips.
A customised CV
Describe what is relevant to the position you are applying for. Are certain tasks or activities in the position you are applying for similar to tasks or activities in your current / previous position? Describe the activities that show similarities than detailed.
No holes in your cv
Do not skip periods of your life in your resume, even if you have not worked in this period. If you do not describe them, it seems like you might have something to hide. But perhaps you have taken care of your sick father or have you taken care of a period at home for your children.
Stay in your kind of work
Try and stay in your line of work, in which you will bring all the experience or even a network to your new job.
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Anyway, if you have any questions, please fill in the comment box and I will reply within 24 hours.