COVID-19 and ageism are just two of the issues confronting older Australians seeking work today. Being caught in a cycle of unemployment or uncertainty can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Here's how you can stay ahead of the game.
We spend a large chunk of our lives at work. So, it’s easy to equate employment status with self-worth.
But unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk or The Milky Bar Kid, your work forms only a part of who you are as a person.
If you find yourself suddenly out of a job, or in need of a change, it’s important to stay positive during your employment search.
Sure, sentiment doesn’t pay the bills – but being positive never hurt anyone either. Walk into your next interview with confidence and an appetite to get working.
“Attitude is key,” says National Seniors Human Resources Manager, Melissa Skyum.
“In my experience, older job candidates have great energy and they’re not afraid to roll their sleeves up. They possess a quiet confidence that comes from years of life experience.”
Back yourself and keep the faith.
We like to think our experience speaks for itself but selling yourself is definitely an art form – and it starts with your CV.
Be clear, concise and only include relevant information. Start with a paragraph that introduces yourself and highlights what you would bring to an organisation. Use dot points where necessary, and formatting that is easy to read. You want to draw the recruiter’s eye to key information. And always list your most recent position first.
But what if you’ve been at the same job forever?
“Unfortunately, some recruiters are hesitant to put forward a candidate with an extensive history at the one workplace,” says Ms Skyum.
“But there are ways you can sell yourself to prospective employers.”
Even if you only have one or two employers to list on your CV, Ms Skyum says your resume needs to show progression and a diverse range of skills.
“You could have been at the one job for a long time and had many roles or performed several duties. You need to show this to employers. It will showcase your strengths and ease any concerns they might have about your ability to adapt to a new workplace.”
Outside work, you might like to highlight your experience fulfilling different roles in clubs, sporting teams and volunteer organisations. It will add to your appeal as a prospective employee.
If you don’t have any hobbies, now might be a good time to start. Staying mentally and physically active can boost your self-esteem and overall health. It can also help you deal with stress and anxiety.
It’s never too late to learn new skills, whether it be at work (by volunteering for new tasks or participating in a work-sponsored program) or during your spare time. There are a number of free courses available, including the government-funded Be Connected digital program which you can read about here.
The stereotype that older Australians are being left behind by technology is harmful and incorrect, as our 2019 survey revealed.
But staying on top of digital trends is important, and we all need to make sure we keep our skills up-to-date. Along with confidence in technology, online recruitment agency Seek has identified a number of skills deemed important to recruiters.
If you have recently become unemployed, or are at risk of redundancy, you may even be eligible for the Federal Government’s Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers Program.
National Seniors Australia would like to hear from you to hear about your experiences looking for work, to help inform a research project on this topic.