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Whether you're setting up a business or looking for employment, make sure you're marketable over 50


Looking for a Job in your 50s – Coping with Rejection

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

Looking for a new role at any age, and not just in your 50s,  is not always straightforward. The first thing to remember is not to take rejection personally, but look constructively at why your job search has not been successful – yet!!
If you have not been successful it is important to recognise at what stage in the jobsearch process things aren’t working, and work on putting things right.

1. Not enough job  opportunities

Are you identifying enough opportunities for which your skills are marketable and in areas where these skills are in demand? If your pipeline of opportunities is too small, what do you need to revisit?

2. Were you rejected on the basis of your CV?

Perhaps you have sent out hundreds of CVs with no invitations for face to face interviews. Have you tailored your CV to each and every opportunity? Have you emphasised the relevant skills and experience gained in the last 5 – 10 years that really applies to the role on offer?
In any CV you should be detailing only the last 10 years career experience- earlier roles can simply be summarised.
Many CVs are logged into a database and searched against for ‘keywords’- does your CV contain the words which best describe your skills? I have reviewed CVs where candidates don’t even mention their actual skills until page 3 and then only briefly- not great for being selected for consideration.
Does your CV and covering letter spell out precisely what you can offer the company and the role? Are your skills current? If you have been made redundant perhaps your previous employer has failed to invest in its technology, systems and people. Do you need to refresh your own skills before marketing yourself in today’s job market?

3. Why were you rejected following the job interview and what can you learn?

At what stage in the interview process were you rejected? Were you invited in for a 2nd or even a 3rd interview?

If you were not invited back following the first interview, ask yourself why and what could you learn from this. Were your skills ultimately not a good match, were you as well prepared as you could have been to understand the role and the company? Did you come across as well as you should have done. Did the interviewer raise any concerns, were there questions you felt unable to answer? What lessons can you learn for next time?
If you were rejected after a second interview, again ask yourself the same questions, but don’t be afraid to ask the potential employer/recruitment agency for feedback. Why did they not offer you the job? Is there anything you could have done better throughout the process? What did the successful candidate offer that you were unable to demonstrate? If they believed you could be a good overall fit for the company, would you be considered for any suitable roles in the near future?

Following up after a job interview

Always send a note, even if you are rejected, thanking the interviewer for their time and for giving you the opportunity to meet. If you feel you were not given the chance to demonstrate some specific skills or relevant knowledge during the interview, there is no harm in mentioning these briefly in the thank you note- you never know- they may well come back to you and ask you to expand.

What lessons can you take from your rejection and learn from next time. Think about the TV programme The Apprentice and the reasons why some of the candidates who have done so well in the tasks fail in the interviews towards the end of the series:

1. Their CVs do not accurately reflect their skills- either under or overselling, setting themselves up for failure at interview.
2. They cannot back up stated achievements with examples, facts and figures. They have not be able to show why they have been successful, and that their success can be repeated
3. They have not done their homework regarding Lord Sugar’s companies and identified where they can add value
4. They do not strike up a rapport with their interviewers

Photo credit: Digitalart
Learn from their mistakes and ensure that you prepare yourself and your CV in the best possible light for the next opportunity you apply for.

Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Jo Carroll

    December 19, 2011

    There’s research that shows that the first 30secs (yes, really – only 30 secs!) are vital. We all make first impressions – and it’s such an uphill task to change someone’s mind if you have a wobbly beginning.

    Which could be depressing. But – just think – if you can get that first greeting right, sound confident, catch eyes (briefly) then the task is to confirm the impression they’ve made.

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