How to find a job as an older worker
The challenges associated with being a mature-aged candidate
As a mature-age worker, you may be worried about facing prejudice in your job hunt... What if a potential employer thinks you'll be less adaptable or less able due to your age?
While the Age Discrimination Act 2004 (ADA) prohibits age-related discrimination in the hiring process, this type of discriminatory behaviour is not always obvious or direct, so it can be difficult to identify and eliminate. For example, an employer may disregard a mature-age worker because they won’t “fit in” with their other, younger employees.
Alternatively, maybe you've decided to change your career later in life or are looking to re-enter the workforce after a break and don't know where to start.
In this blog, we provide a number of tips to help you overcome some of the challenges associated with being a mature-age candidate. Because, in reality, as an older worker you have a lot to offer potential employers. Certain skills can take years to develop. Plus, you will bring a wealth of personal and professional experience with you into your new role.
Our first tip is to upskill yourself.
Upskilling is the process of continued professional development and training that involves:
Top Resume advises mature-age workers keep up to date through ongoing upskilling. Most importantly, in areas that are constantly changing and evolving, such as technology.
But where do you start?
Firstly, you need to identify which skills you want to work on based on what will help you the most in your job hunt. As a mature-age worker, it may be difficult to know where to start.
In Australia, there are two tools you may wish to utilise when looking for areas to upskill in.
Once you have identified relevant skills, you then need to decide how you will go about improving them.
In Australia, you can find local training/courses through the MySkills and CourseSeeker websites. These sites show you what training is available locally, plus they provide cost estimates and timeframes.
Registered training isn’t the only way you can upskill – you can also learn while you earn. Consider trying part-time, casual, contract, or temp work as another way to keep your skills up to date while you search for your dream job.
Other ways to upskill include:
Update your CV
Our second tip for the mature-age worker is to keep your CV up-to-date.
If you are currently employed, make sure you continually add professional achievements and duties to your CV. Hence, when the time comes to apply for jobs, you are not starting from scratch.
If you haven’t touched your CV for years, it can be challenging to know where to start. We suggest you:
Adaptability is crucial when making a career change. This is especially true for mature-age workers who may need to accept a lower-level position than they were in previously.
Therefore, our third tip is to be flexible – and to demonstrate your flexibility to potential employers.
Show that you are willing to adapt to a new role and that you are excited to learn new skills. Reference any relevant upskilling you have undertaken as evidence of this.
Prepare for your interviews
Flexibility also applies to the interview questions. While it is illegal to discriminate based on age, you still need to watch out for subtle age-related questions.
To learn more about how you can make a great impression during interviews, check out our recent blog, don't let this person reject you.
Job hunting tips & advice