Times are difficult for people over 40 years of age when it comes to looking for a job. Not only do employers ask you for huge amounts of references and professional experience, they also look at you as a liability.
The sad fact of the matter is that people are reluctant towards hiring a senior employee due to their age and way of thinking. They simply assume that older people are not willing to change or learn new things, which is not true at all.
How can you use your age to your advantage and avoid age discrimination with company HR that simply refuse you without explanation?
Putting things into perspective
The first thing you need to understand is that it will be difficult to change careers if you are over 40. The simple truth is that younger people who study in Field A have a much better chance at getting employed than you, who worked for a long time in Field B and want to make a change now.
The reason for this is simple: they are younger, more energetic and far away from retirement. Younger candidates can make better employees in eyes of an HR because they are fresh out of school. However, they lack experience in real working environment, something that you have in abundance.
Before deciding which career to pursue, think about your current life situation. Is it worth putting the effort into learning new skills if you are making enough money right now?
Do you have a family to support and children to feed? How does your salary fit into bills, rent and taxes that come monthly?
These are hard questions that need to be answered before deciding to quit a job and start looking for something else. If you are truly ready to make a change for the better, prepare for a lot of hard work.
Ugly side of being older
As we mentioned before, older people are far less attractive to employers who want loyalty and long-term commitment in their companies. Older candidates are closer to retirement than fresh graduates are, and this reflects in the interviews that are conducted once an opening appears.
Older candidates rarely have a chance to explain their motives to the interviewer and are simply thanked for their time. While some companies do want to hire older employees due to their experience, these instances are very few and far in between.
What seniors can expect when it comes to employment is mundane positions such as cashiers, mailmen, dishwashing positions or cleaning jobs. This is the bad side of being older when it comes to wanting to change a career late in life.
Using experience to your advantage
There is a good side to being an older candidate however. Nothing is as bleak as it first seems, mainly because you have a huge resume under your belt.
The secret to writing a proper resume as someone over 40 is to focus on your professional development and experience, not the skills you earned during your career.
For example, writing a resume that goes backwards chronologically, starting with the latest professional experience and working your way back is a good way to get started.
You can incorporate professional development into these experiences by listing specific skills you learned from each one right under it. If you developed coding and programming skills by working in an IT firm, list it there, and so forth.
This will give your employer a much clearer picture of what kind of a candidate you are and how serious you are about being employed. If you are changing your career into something completely new, listing job-specific skills in a separate area on your resume is a good way to attract attention.
Every year of your previous experience can bring you a step closer to being employed again – it’s only a matter of finding the right employer who will listen to you.
Negotiating with employers
Once you get invited to your first interview, the real work of changing your career will begin. Many candidates with previous experience simply don’t know how to converse effectively, even though they are experts in their fields.
You will have to not only communicate why you want to change your career, but also why this particular company is the perfect place for you.
Interviewers will surely ask you why you are changing careers at such a late age, and being honest about your intentions is always the right thing to do.
Do not mention monetary issues because this assumes that you expect a large sum of money to appear out of nowhere as soon as you get employed.
Talking about your love for your family and willingness to learn new skills to become a valuable part of the company is the good way to communicate.
Be as professional, calm and talkative as possible. Respect the interviewer at every step and make sure to answer their questions coherently and seriously.
If they give you an opportunity to ask them something about the company, do not talk about pension plans, vacations or salary – this is an instant red flag that will cost you your future job.
Negotiating with interviewers is something that takes a couple of tries to get right, but you will develop your personal system very quickly.
Depending on your personal motivation and previous experience, you will find a new employment sooner or later by doing this.
Sometimes your energy won’t bear fruit and you will be unable to get employed. Understand that this is not because you are a bad person or a lazy worker – it’s just the way the world works.
Older people get pushed aside so that new graduates with latest technological knowledge can take their places.
Reverting to your old job and career might not be the worst thing in the world considering that it provides your family with a stable income.
Weigh your options carefully and do what is best for you and those around you. Sometimes life deals us a hand that we can’t back out of, and age discrimination in the job employment market deals the final blow.