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Career Advice

Job Search Tips for the Older Jobseeker

The job market is challenging for everyone at the moment, but if you are of a shall we say more ‘mature’ disposition, it is particularly so. Press attention and column inches seem to be focused on the unemployed graduates, the so called ‘Neet’ generation. But what of the older job seekers who job-wanted (1)have found themselves looking for employment for perhaps the first time in years? They matter too! If you fall into that category or if you know someone who does, these basic tips ought to help – Job Search Tips for the Older Jobseeker.

Update your CV
If you haven’t already done so, make sure that your CV is up to date and is selling you in the best possible light. By sending out a CV that perhaps ‘ages’ you, or does not totally reflect your skills and experience, you are doing yourself a considerable disservice. Update and refresh your CV regularly and of course ensure that you tailor it to suit each job application. Employers and recruiters will make a decision on a CV within a matter of seconds so make sure that yours is not one that goes in the rejected pile. Even if you are not working, do update your CV to include any voluntary work or training or studying you are undertaking, even if you have not yet received a formal qualification.

Keep updating skills
No matter what age you may be, it is really important to continue to update your skills. Keeping abreast of changes in your industry or learning new skills will go a long way towards making you appear even more employable to a prospective employer. Some areas, particularly I.T. are changing so rapidly that continuous and ongoing training is essential. If you are presently claiming benefits, you may be able to undertake courses at considerably reduced rates. Apart from the obvious advantage of the discounted fees, you may perhaps currently have more free time in order to undertake such courses, so it’s wise to make the most of it. Of course there are also a plethora of online courses which you could undertake which again would signify a positive impression to any prospective employer.

Networking matters
It really cannot be stressed enough just how important networking is to any candidate’s job search. Get out there and start connecting with people. Look at your local press, contact your local Chamber of Commerce and see what events are coming up that would be worthwhile attending. The more that you connect with people, employers and peers alike, the more likely you will be to find out about employment opportunities, perhaps before they even get advertised. Of course networking does not only apply to face to face meet ups at events, networking online via social media platforms is critical too. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, then it’s time to do so. Creating a profile and proactively engaging with prospective employers, former colleagues or key players in your industry or profession is key.

Consider changing careers
If you have only ever worked in one sector or area, it may seem quite a daunting option to change career, however it may prove to be both beneficial and in some cases, essential. If for example, your particular industry has suffered badly in the downturn, you may have no choice but to look at other areas. Take some time however to think about what you would really like to do. Will that new career require you to retrain? If so, are there any schemes available to you that would provide the required training? What skills do you already possess that are transferable? Check out our previous post on what exactly transferable skills are. If you are considering a career a world away from what you have done before, do get some proper advice. Speak to a professional careers adviser or to someone from that industry or sector and see what they believe would be the best route for you. You may not necessarily have to start at entry level, it all depends of course on both the sector you choose and the level of your existing skills and experience.

Consider Temporary or Contract Posts
If you have only ever worked in permanent positions, undertaking a temporary role may seem far from ideal. The reality is however that temporary work may be much easier to come by and in the current climate, is not looked upon in a negative light by any employer. You may be able to pick up short term contract positions or perhaps even undertake freelance work, depending on your background. Such roles can be beneficial to keeping you ‘in the game’ as it were, expanding and diversifying your experience, keeping you economically active and of course may on occasion lead to permanent job offers. In essence, don’t restrict yourself to only searching for permanent positions – widen your horizons and in turn you increase your potential job opportunities.

We hope that these Job Search Tips for the Older Jobseeker help. Got any others you’d like to share? Why not let us know via the comments section below.

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