Frightened by a career change at 50? Then think again
At Eleven, we meet a lot of candidates over 50 who are back on the job market after long periods of employment. They’ve not updated their CV for years, their interview skills are rusty and many feel a touch despondent about their future job prospects. As consultant Emma Bloomfield says, "some older candidates expect me to tell them I can't help them, but that couldn't be further from the truth." Redundancy in your 50s doesn’t mean the end of your career and here’s why…
Turn your age in to a positive
Forget flighty Millennials who move about from job to job (LinkedIn research suggests Millenials have an average of 4 jobs in their first ten years after graduating), employers are actively looking for candidates that bring loyalty, stability, commitment and above all, bags of experience. Play to your strengths and help prospective employers see that age is a real asset. Be sure to demonstrate your resilience, wisdom and long track record of success and make sure you shout about your achievements. For companies that are targeting older customers or have long-standing business relationships your age could prove extremely useful. Use it, don’t hide it.
Heartening advice comes from Jodie Allan, assistant manager at fuel distributor James D Bilsland, who says: “Don’t be intimidated or nervous when applying for jobs. I know that on paper you may seem far too experienced, but you are applying for a reason, be it a change of pace, increased satisfaction, or that you have always wanted this type of career. Over 50s are an asset to any company and many employers value experience, maturity and reliability.”
Don’t be afraid of technology. Not only is it an incredibly useful tool for finding a job, but it will demonstrate to employers that your knowledge is up-to-date and relevant and put you on a level playing field with younger colleagues. It is quick and easy to create a profile on LinkedIn and will enable you to connect and interact with others. Make sure that you follow key industry influencers and companies on social media. Like, share and comment on their posts and be sure to add your own articles. You could even start a blog.
A career change at 50 can seem particularly daunting when faced with the prospect of an interview. Brush up on your technique, practice and do ask for help. At Eleven, formerly Oil Recruitment, we are always happy to talk through likely questions you’ll be asked, provide advice on the culture of the company and style of the interviewer and promise to give constructive feedback.
Or put yourself forward for jobs that are less important to you and treat the interview as a practice run. If you’re not successful, you will be less likely to beat yourself up about it and when the time comes for real thing, you will be confident and raring to go. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask interviewers for feedback or to share any concerns they may have.
Hone your CV
You’ve got a wealth of experience and a long career history but sometimes less is more. Don’t be tempted to throw everything down, focus on key positions from the last 10 years and in particular, your last few roles. Keep it to three sides of A4 and no more. Remember that you don’t have to put your date of birth on your CV or the dates that you attended school or university.
Read more about our CV tips here.
The employer view
A company in favour of employing the over 50s is Oil 4 Wales. Managing director, Colin Owens explains: “It’s about getting the blend right; bringing together the experience of an older person with the passion of a youngster ensures a balanced team and keeps the company in the 21st century. When employing older people though, I do look for those that can clearly define their experience and have the humility to recognise that younger employees need to be developed and not just told what to do. I look for team players who will bring a nice mix of skills and qualities to our close-knit company.”
If you are over 50 and back on the job market, we would love to hear from you.