GETTING A JOB OVER 50 - Twelve top tips for success

GETTING A JOB OVER 50 - Twelve top tips for success

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Despite the introduction of the 2006 Age Discrimination legislation the unfortunate fact remains that it’s still relatively difficult to change jobs or to re-enter the workplace once you’re over 50, In fact, a recent poll of recruitment consultants undertaken by Recruiter Magazine revealed that the majority felt that the chances of a 50 year old being placed in a job compared with those of a 25 year old were nowhere near as good.

So if you’re over 50 and looking for a job, what can you do to maximise your chances?

1. Be clear about what you want from work. Is it money, status, creative self-fulfilment, a social network, new skills…? Make a similar list of the things you don’t want or are not prepared to sacrifice - it will make job searching so much easier

2. Do your research. Websites have lots of useful information, for example the Department for Work and Pensions (includes details of New Deal 50 Plus) and the Government’s Age Positive site (includes details of specialist recruitment and advice agencies). Another very good place to look is the Directgov site and, in particular, their Over 50s section There are also many independently operated sites with useful links and directories (for example so spend some time “silver surfing” and see where it leads you.

3. Upgrade your skills. If you’re finding that they’re not as up to date as they should be, perhaps you need training or a refresher course. Learn Direct is a good starting point for information or look at part time courses available at colleges locally.

4. Don’t restrict yourself to what you’ve always done. If you’re looking for a complete change of career, there’s plenty of advice available from your local Council and other sites on the web, e.g. Careers A-Z (includes how to write a good CV).

5. Take action. Finding a job at any age means putting in regular effort to search for vacancies – in newspapers, online and through recruitment agencies – and following up on any that sound possible. You won’t find out how easy or difficult it is to get a new job until you try, so get stuck in, apply yourself, and don’t give up!

6. Approach employers. Don’t just wait for jobs to be advertised, contact businesses directly. If they have nothing immediate, they may keep your details on file for future vacancies. And be prepared to be flexible; it may be worth taking a less than ideal job in order to join the company and get access to further opportunities and promotion.

7. Focus on your transferable skills and achievements. Make sure your CV isn’t just a list of jobs, but highlights what benefits you could bring to an employing organisation. And arm yourself with evidence of achievement and references. Just saying you’re good won’t be enough.

8. Ask for help and advice from wherever you can get it. Many over 50s make the mistake of thinking they ‘know’ about the job market. But if we only have our own perspective on the world it’s not always a reliable indicator of reality.

9. Emphasise your energy. One of the biggest misconceptions about the over 50s is that they are slowing down and are more likely than younger people to suffer ill-health (none of which is borne out by fact). So include active pursuits on your CV and stress that you are energetic, enthusiastic and up for a challenge.

10. Dress for success. You don’t need to look young for your age, but you do need to look good for your age. This means good grooming (particularly hair and nails), the best suit you can afford, and smart accessories. Knowing you look your best will also do wonders for your confidence.

11. Constantly ask for feedback. Ask prospective employers and recruitment agencies why you weren’t selected and what you can do to improve your future chances. Ask your friends and family for honest feedback on your appearance, mannerisms and attitude. Do you need to change? (If you do, a good book to use as a starting point is Primetastic – 50 tips for life when you’re over 50 (available from Amazon).

12. Persevere and believe in yourself. Looking for a job is a time and energy-consuming process and you need to be tenacious and resolute, but also philosophical. If it takes a while, don’t despair and don’t take it personally, you will get there in the end and it will all be worthwhile.

---ends ---

For further information please contact:

Dianne Bown-Wilson, in my prime, tel: 01865 841541 email

Note for editors:

in my prime is an organisation which provides specialist advice for mature positive, energetic people who want to achieve more – at a time when others might be thinking of slowing down. The company provides information, advice, and support, through its website at

in my prime also advises employers on issues relating to retaining and developing a mature workforce, in particular in areas such as flexible working policies, retirement planning, personal development and work/life balance.

A new book concerning issues facing older workers, ‘New Tricks – winning in the workplace over 50’ by Dianne Bown-Wilson and Richard Ciechan, founders of in my prime, is to be published in autumn 2007.



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