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Why can’t I find a job in my 50s?


Article by Ceri Wheeldon

why is it difficult to find a job over 50 image

This is a a question I frequently get asked!! We are experience a period of record employment, and yet many individuals over 50 are failing either to find work, or when do find employment are underemployed.  At a time when many are facing an increased retirement age, this is a major problem.

Many are saying they feel they are being discriminated against due to their age, but are there things within the over 50 jobseeker’s own control that could have a more positive impact on their job search?

Where in the recruitment process is your job search failing?

 Are you submitting your CV but not being invited for interview?

Are you being invited for a first interview, but not being invited to progress further?

Being invited for second and subsequent interview, but not being offered the job?

Being offered the job but unable to negotiate a suitable package?

Let’s briefly look at each of these in turn.

 

Are you submitting your CV but not being invited for interview?

Before you even think about submitting your CV for any role, you must be absolutely clear about the relevant skills  and experience you are able to offer.   If you are unsure about which of your skills are marketable in today’s employment market ten I can highly recommend that you work through the careers module in the Midlife MOT programme to understand your transferable skills – which will have you identify your skills that are of value and any gaps you may need to address.

You will also understand which of your skills may be able to broaden your options in terms of the  roles you are able to apply for.

Once you understand which of your up to date skills have a value, tailor each and every cv you submit to highlight the relevant skills and experience you have that match the vacancy’s requirements. It really is important to invest some time doing this. Look at the terminology used in the job advert, make sure that you word your cv to reflect these. Think of how you search for things on google – ensure that you have the appropriate ‘keywords’ in your cv.

Do the job titles you use have meaning to other companies?

Have you placed more emphasis on the last 10 years than your earlier career experience?

Do you contact details (such as your email address) look professional?

Have you removed your age/date of birth? You are under no obligation to provide it!

 

Are you being invited for a first interview, but not being invited to progress further?

When you left the interview, did you think that you could have handle certain questions differently – what were the areas that you felt less than confident about?

Did you prepare thoroughly beforehand by researching the backgrounds of the interviewers, the company and their competitors?

Did you ask for feedback as to why you did not progress to the next stage?

Be honest and objective about your ‘performance’. Learn from it and build on for the future.

 

Being invited for second and subsequent interview, but not being offered the job?

Ask what the successful candidate was able to offer that they felt you were unable to. Are these things within you own control that you can work on going forward?

Ask if there are any similar roles they will be looking to recruit for in the future that you could be considered for. To have passed the cv screening and first interview stage you have already demonstrated that you have skills and experience that they value – see if you can build on this.

Again, analyse your own interview performance and be honest with yourself about any shortcomings or areas you can work on.

 

Being offered the job but unable to negotiate a suitable package?

Were your expectations realistic? Does the company have formal payscales – do you know where the offer extended to you sat within the banding for that role?

Are your expectations realistic? I have so often found that individuals can place unrealistic value regarding their ‘years of experience’.  If you have, for instance, 10 years’ experience in a role, did you progress and continue to add skills and value in each of those 10 years, or did you effectively repeat one year’s 10 times? A prospective employer may view those 10 years as perhaps the equivalent of 4 in terms  of how they would weight the experience you have in terms of what they would expect in their own organisation.

Are your expectations in keeping with current industry norms? Do your research ahead of time.

There is so much more to each of the areas I have just summaries, but hopefully this will provide you with some pointers to have look at areas where you can improve your job search – and your potential to succeed.

I have over 25 years experience as a headhunter, working on assignments in multiple countries. I have lost track of the many thousands  of CVs I have reviewed, interviews I have conducted, shortlists put together and offers I have helped to negotiate.  I do not formally promote job search coaching – but it is something I can look at with individuals – time permitting ! If this is something you would be interested in then do get in touch via editor@fabafterfifty.com – or message me via facebook or instagram.

 

These are the issues that were highlighted recently when I posted about looking for work over 50 on the Fab after Fifty Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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