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Should age be a hiring factor?

Should age be a hiring factor?

Why is age a hiring factor? Relevant experience is one of the biggest things employers look for when hiring applicants, so why are older contenders who have served decades in the working world often overlooked?

Mature workers bring a unique perspective and valued skills to the workforce. Unfortunately, due to age discrimination and bias, they often get given the flick before being given a chance to shine, making age a key hiring factor.

Having a team of mixed employees is extremely beneficial to any organisation.

Regardless of age or experience, it can be daunting and confronting when looking for a new job. Whether you’re recent graduate or a seasoned professional, understanding the process and knowing what is expected of you as a candidate is sure to make things a little smoother.

The Two Perspectives on the age hiring factor

From an employer’s perspective, a major consideration when hiring a mature aged candidate is how much longer they wish to remain in the workforce. There are questions raised surrounding retirement, what their skills are and where their passions lie.  Are they looking to slow down and get a “clock in, clock out” role or continue in a high-pressure position? The key for any candidate is being able to communicate these points in your resume and cover letter, and making it clear to the reader what you are after.

Having a team of mixed employees is extremely beneficial to any organisation. Older workers can act as mentors to younger ones and this relationship can be mutually beneficial. Younger employees happily share their knowledge on new trends, ways of working and the ever-pervasive technological changes. These kinds of relationships are great for employee team building and in-house efficiency.

In this sense, the needs of both parties seem equally matched. It’s possibly even a better match than hiring a younger applicant who may be finding their feet. For example, the younger candidate may be less concerned with job longevity and more focused on pursuing their ambitions. That makes the age hiring factor a positive one.

keep up to date with resume styles and layouts

However, this isn’t always the case. Sadly, older applicants often find themselves drawing the short straw when it comes to hiring processes. That makes the age hiring factor a negative one.

So, what can older applicants to do to increase their chances? How can they make age a positive hiring factor from the employer perspective right from the outset?

Making Your Mark

Before getting to the interview stage, the first hurdle is the submission of a resume. Many older candidates assume that they should include their age (or date of birth) and marital status in their resume when in reality neither should be there!

Ensuring the font and style of writing is clear and easy to read also is essential. Get your message across quickly. Make sure that only your relevant job history, skills and qualifications are included – 3 pages should be the absolute maximum and only the last 10 years of work history is required.

To keep up to date with resume styles and layouts, a quick Google search will pull up thousands of examples. There are also multiple articles online, which can help guide you through the steps of how to build an effective resume.

Should mature job seekers use social media?

Another hot topic for job seekers and employers is social media. It’s quite common for an employer to conduct an online search of a potential applicant before making an offer. This is often carried out to ensure the candidate is a good cultural fit and is presentable both online and offline, particularly when their personal name is associated with the brand.

A great social media profile can be a big tick. Simply put, it can be a positive age hiring factor by portraying you as an engaged, active person. However, not having anything at all won’t put a strike against your name. In fact, it’s better to have no online presence as opposed to a half-finished or potentially controversial one. So, maybe hold out on linking your personal blog where you voice opinions on loaded topics. Also, make sure your profile is using a relevant online tool – if you’re a fashionista setting up a blog, Instagram and Facebook may be the best sites for you. If you have a corporate background, LinkedIn is a far better tool for you.

Should mature job seekers use LinkedIn?

If you do plan on setting up a LinkedIn profile, make sure to create it properly and fill in all the required details; make sure you keep it updated regularly. If you aren’t sure how to do this, it is best to seek out a professional LinkedIn profile writer or ask someone who is knowledgeable to set one up for you. Always make sure your page has the correct spelling and grammar, for it’s the little details that add the most value to your application!

Who is Lyn Slater?

Remember, just because you’re over 50, doesn’t mean you can’t change roles or careers for that matter! If you need a little inspiration, check out the video above of Lyn Slater, the 64-year old Accidental Icon! If that doesn’t get you thinking positively about your next career move, nothing will!


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