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Advice for mature age job seekers
09 December 2014
Although mature age workers face certain challenges when looking for a new role, there are some key ways to maximise the changes of job search success.
Refresh your resume
With the job application process largely moving online, one key factor has remained unchanged over time: the need to submit a tailored, compelling resume.
Follow these practical tips to ensure the impression you create is of a modern, current and vital professional:
- Avoid specifying personal details such as your marital status or date of birth. Your name, address, phone number and email are sufficient
- Limit your employment history to the last 10-15 years, focusing on the skills and experience most relevant to the role
- If your university degree and relevant professional development courses were not completed within the last 10 years, avoid specifying dates
- Address any periods away from the workforce in your cover letter or at the interview, highlighting the skills you gained during that time
Think outside the square
If finding a suitable role is taking longer than anticipated, try expanding the scope of your job search. Could you transfer your skills to a new or related industry? Would you be willing to look for roles in a different location? If these options don’t suit your situation, consider these ways to keep your skills up to date and take the pressure off while you search for your ideal type of work:
- Part time, casual, or temporary employment
- Offering your services as a coach, mentor or tutor
- Contracting or consulting in your area of expertise
- Volunteer work
- Becoming a board or community representative
Keep your skills and knowledge current
To maximise your appeal to potential employers, you need to convey an awareness of recent industry developments, a commitment to continual learning and an aptitude for using the latest technology. Here are some ways you can position yourself as a skilled, savvy and well informed professional:
- Build your technology/computer skills with a short course
- Boost your experience with common business technology
- Read industry publications to stay up-to-date with the latest trends
- Join a professional association and attend industry events
- Upgrade an existing qualification, or invest in professional development to fill key skill gaps
Use your network
Many interviews for senior level positions are generated by personal recommendations; making networking even more important for mature age job seekers.
Let everyone know you are looking for a job, including former colleagues, alumni, family and friends. As well as sourcing potential job leads, you can also gain advice on prospective companies and positions on offer. You might also consider creating a profile on LinkedIn, which has the dual benefit of building your network and demonstrating an aptitude for technology.
Maintain a positive outlook
In a competitive job market, finding the right role can take months. Feelings of frustration are natural. Try to remain patient and focus on the key strengths and experience you offer prospective employers. Project yourself as an energetic, motivated and upbeat professional who embraces change and is open to new challenges.
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When your career is well established and you are seeking a change, it is important to capitalise on your expertise and employment history. Ensure you have taken the following steps:
- Keep your resume up to date
- Consider expanding your scope to include newer industries and disciplines
- Use your network to seek recommendations and referrals
- Refresh and expand your skill set to fill key gaps and keep up with the latest trends
You should then be in the best position to secure a new role!