Breaking the ‘age barrier’ in the employment market can be daunting for people over a certain age. So what can you do about it?
Firstly, if you are worried employers may discriminate against you due to your age, don’t give them reason to. Don’t put your age or your date of birth on your CV. It is not best practice to have personal information on a CV and an employer does not need to know when you were born. Their primary focus is to find out if you have the right skills and experience to do the job better than any of the other applicants.
Only go back around 10 – 12 years on your CV starting with you most recent. Keep it relevant too. Going back to jobs you did after you left school will not only highlight your age, but will not be relevant to your most recent experience or what you are applying for now.
There is also no need to put the year you went to School, College or University. Employers will not be interested in your pre GCSE qualifications such as O levels or CSE’s and this will only highlight your age further. If the job description says GCSE English is a requirement, you can put “educated to GCSE standards, including English” instead. or you could look at re-training.
Getting a qualification will help you to prove your skills to an employer and shows you have the right skills for the job. It will also show you are being pro-active by keeping your skills up to date and you are willing to learn new things, demonstrating you have the right attitude for the job.
Government-funded online courses lead to nationally recognised qualifications in Maths, English and IT skills. If you want to go on courses but are worried about the cost, have a look at the Government 24+ loans. Visit www.learndirect.com for further information. Remember, it really doesn’t matter how old you are, because there’s never been a better time to learn!
The key thing to remember is that, with age comes experience and this is something that sets you apart from other jobseekers. Try to be even more proactive in understanding a potential employer’s needs and show off your skills. Identify what they’re really asking you and remove any hint of concern.
Your best approach to finding opportunities may be through networking. Contact friends, friends of friends, family, contacts you have from previous jobs, social or community groups. Ask them to let you know if they hear of any positions.
Working on a voluntary basis is a fantastic way to meet new people, network and find paid employment. Opportunities to ‘shadow’ people at work in your desired sector for a day or two could be ideal. Make the same suggestion direct to employers.
During your ‘shadowing’, ask which jobs in their organisations (and outside it) need people with the kind of experience you bring and in the specific areas you hope to work in.
Finally, be aware Age Discrimination is now recognised through legislation, so employers are no longer able to recruit people using age as a deciding factor. If you feel a company has discriminated against you due to your age, you are within your rights to contest it.
However, ask yourself this; do you want to work for a company that discriminates candidates due to their age? Take it as a gift that you found out before hand as who would want to work for a company with those values!
Move onwards and upwards and find an age friendly company that you really want to work for and who really values you for what you can do and not your age.
Age is only a barrier – if you let it become one.