Do you feel like you are in your prime – however the job market seems to think otherwise?
For those of you who have seen the film “The Intern” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, you will be familiar with the story-line that the employment landscape is filled with younger professionals hesitant to employ more mature professionals (and if you haven’t watched it – I would highly recommend it!). Being a mature-aged professional myself, I strongly believe that any organisation that subscribes to this philosophy are missing out on a large pool of talent who have a wealth of knowledge, life and work experience – as was portrayed in the movie where the young manager not only turned her business around, but also gained a Mentor and friend by recruiting a mature-aged intern.
I was having coffee with an older friend recently and the subject of cosmetic surgery came up. She commented that she was considering having some subtle work done for the first time ever. The catalyst, it seemed for her, was that she was finding it difficult to secure a new role and believed that her age was working against her. This got me thinking and asking myself the question – why this was the case when there are so many advantages to hiring mature aged professionals?
To name just a few of these advantages:
Strong and well-established professional networks;
Tech savvy – the older generation are actually the fastest growing users of technology according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics* – embracing technology and becoming just as computer savvy as their younger counterparts;
Well-developed communications skills – years of practice!
Strong work ethic – appreciative of the opportunities given to them
Honesty – mature employees often value personal integrity and devotion to the truth;
Efficiency and confidence – happy to share their ideas and knowledge with less experienced members of the team;
Adaptable – life experience has taught them to accept that things go wrong and they are often able to provide a calm approach to a solution;
Detail-oriented and focused – a result of having to check work manually without relying on computers;
Time – often they have older children who don’t need so much of their attention or time as they themselves are more independent, so they have more time to devote to their jobs.
Here are some tips on how to find a new role when you are over a mature-aged professional:
Use your Network – if you are over 50, you are likely to have a vast network of connections to help you find a new role. Don’t be afraid to ask. Think about former colleagues, managers and clients.
Make your resume ageless – nobody needs to know about your first job as a secretary if you are a Senior Manager now. You don’t need to go back past the last 15 years – by doing this it also helps to keep the experience relevant and more easily transferable.
Turn age into an asset – emphasise all the relevant experience that you have for this role and demonstrate examples.
Prepare thoroughly for your interviews – make sure you research the people you are meeting; understand the role you are being considered for and be yourself!
Demonstrate that you are technically savvy – talk about the scheduling app you have on your phone and the software that you have used in previous roles.
Reassure younger managers – Some hiring managers may be uncomfortable managing someone with more experience than them. Make it clear that you are not a threat to them, do not want their job and are more than happy with the role you are interviewing for.
Consider Contract work – often this can lead to a permanent role once you have proved what you are capable of.
Culture and Values – Focus on applying to companies that have a culture and values that align with your own – where you will feel comfortable and thrive!
Finding a new role can be a challenge whatever age you are and I believe the key is to treat rejections as opportunities to learn and try to keep a positive mindset.
I am a big believer that personality and capability shine through – no matter what a person’s age! The employment landscape has changed significantly and good employers are forward thinking enough to embrace a good opportunity when they see one.
Amanda Glacken is the Division Manager at Parity Consulting; specialising in the recruitment of Product, Marketing and Digital professionals. In her spare time, she is a cheese connoisseur and considers herself a bit of an ABBA enthusiast. For a confidential discussion or to further discuss the topic of mature professionals entering the workforce, contact Amanda Glacken on 0450 291 368 or email@example.com.
* Australian Bureau of Statistics (2005) Year Book Australia, Cat. No. 1301.0.