The job market is highly competitive and it’s hard for anybody to land their perfect role, but it’s especially hard for women in their 50s. When you’re going up against younger candidates that are more likely to have a degree, it sometimes feels like there’s no way that you’re going to compete. Employers are looking for long term employees that will stay with the company for years to come so, despite legislation being in place to combat ageism, they may be put off by older candidates that are much closer to retirement age. The world of work is also constantly changing and so many companies rely on new technology that you may not understand as well as younger candidates . So, does that mean you should just give up on finding a new career because you’ll never beat the younger candidates? Absolutely not because the older generation can offer a lot of things that the younger generation simply can’t and as long as you can demonstrate this to employers, you can still find your dream job regardless of your age. If you’re struggling with your job search and you keep getting knocked back, here are some of the best ways that you can compete with younger candidates.
Focus On The Benefits Of Age
Often, employers see age as a negative right away because they assume that it means you won’t be staying with the company for as long and you might not have the technological know-how that a lot of your younger peers have. However, there are a lot of benefits that older employees bring to the workplace and if you focus on these in your application you can turn age into a positive, not a negative. Older workers are more mature and have more general life experience, which means that they’re often better equipped to deal with crisis situations in the office. It’s also likely that you have more overall job experience so, even if you don’t have experience in the particular role that you’re applying for and you don’t have a relevant degree like some of your younger peers, you have general work experience and skills that they are lacking.
In general, older workers will bring a different point of view to the company and think in different ways, which is so valuable, especially if the company is primarily staffed by younger employees. Having somebody that can approach problems in a way that nobody else in the company does is very beneficial and you should highlight this in your application. If you can spin your age in the right way, you can make it work for you and not against you.
Match Their Education
Education is the big worry for a lot of older candidates because when you were in your 20s, there weren’t that many people going into higher education. But these days, it’s far more common and most of the candidates that you’re up against will have a degree, which can be a problem for you. In a lot of cases, you might be able to get around it by focusing on your skills and experience, but it does help if you can match their education. That doesn’t mean you have to go back into education full time which most people can’t afford when they’ve got a family and a mortgage to pay for, you can do a quick online mba instead. You’ll study a wide range of topics from financial management to leadership skills which will stand you in good stead in a lot of different job roles. There are a lot of more practical courses available that include some form of work experience so you’ll be in a better position than a lot of younger applications that don’t really have any real world job experience.
Understand New Technology
There are a lot of new technological innovations that are driving businesses forward and if you don’t understand these things, it puts you in a bad position when you’re up against younger candidates that do. Social media, for example, is a big one. It plays such an important role in marketing and if you don’t really know anything about it, that doesn’t look good for employers. That’s why you need to make an effort to learn about new business technology and get to grips with it a bit more. There are some great free courses where you can learn about social media marketing and the basics of computer coding.
You should also keep up to date with business and tech news so you’re aware of the new developments that will be important in the business world. By doing this, you’re not only matching the knowledge of your younger peers, but you’re also showing potential employers that you’re willing to dedicate your own time to learning about things that make you more qualified for the job.
Use Your Network
A strong network is something that older workers have that their younger peers won’t have. If they’ve only been working for a few years, they won’t have an extensive network of business contacts to draw on, but older candidates that have more job experience do have that. It’s important that you take advantage of this network during your job search because it could be the difference between success and failure when you’re searching for a job. The first step is to get in touch with anybody in hiring positions and ask if there are any jobs going. Applying for jobs at companies where you have worked with staff members in the past is a good idea as well. They’ll be able to vouch for you and you’ll be more likely to land that position.
Networking events are a great place to meet potential employers as well, so you should look for any events in your chosen industry and attend them. When you’re applying for a position, it will give you a leg up if you’ve already met the hiring manager and you got along well with them.
Your age can be an obstacle when you’re applying for jobs, especially when you’re up against a lot of younger candidates. But if you follow these tips, you can still get those jobs.
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