How should you look for a job when you are over 50?

For workers who are over the age of 50, it can be difficult to know how to effectively reenter the workforce, especially after a period of absence. Many workers have the impression that companies would rather hire younger workers and that older candidates ‘scare off’ recruiters for a variety of reasons. Whether or not this is true, the question remains: How can older workers present their vast experience to recruiters in a way that demonstrates value?

We asked this question of Marie-Carmen Velasco, Executive Vice-President and head of Human Capital and Shared Services at ACCEO.

For candidates who are older than 50, what could be in their CV that might give a recruiter pause?

“No matter what a candidate’s age may be, having recent training or education listed in one’s profile is an excellent way to maintain their employability – especially in a field like IT, which is constantly evolving. All professionals need to update their skills and knowledge on a regular basis to ensure the value of their competencies on the market. After all, intellectual curiosity has no age limit!

Many older candidates have not updated their educations in many years; with this in mind, it is always a good idea for them to seek out new training or certifications that complement their base skills and experience. This will help them to stand out from the crowd.

This is also true for people who are already actively employed. At ACCEO, the working environment requires that each one of our professionals stay constantly abreast of the trends and advances that occur in their respective fields. Our in-house training programs act as an incentive for our employees to invest in their own skills and competencies, which will ultimately benefit both the individual and the company.”

What are some unique qualities possessed by candidates who are over 50?

“Without a doubt, experience would be at the top of the list. As a general rule, older candidates have a very good idea of what they want in a professional sense, and they are also very aware of their own strengths as well as areas where they can improve.

The value that older, more experienced employees bring to an organization is also demonstrated in their capacity to act as mentors to their younger colleagues. Because of their experience, older workers often possess a more mature understanding of organizational processes, and as a result are more inclined to take a step back in certain situations – to take the time to reflect on the correct way to do something. This makes them very valuable to companies.

Many employers are well aware of these qualities. For example, at ACCEO, more than 30 % of our employees are 50 years old or older. We ascribe a particular importance to our more-experienced professionals.”

What is the best way for these candidates to distinguish themselves in the eyes of recruiters?

“Above all else, candidates need to provide details about all of the skills, competencies and knowledge that they have acquired during the course of their professional career, while at the same time demonstrating a flexibility and openness to new ways of doing things. Professionals over the age of 50 should never hesitate to put their achievements front and center – especially the ones that had a significant, positive impact for their previous employer – when they are looking for a new job.

Considering that their attractive qualities are undeniable, no company should turn their back on experienced professionals, especially when the candidate possesses skills that are hard to come by.”

Simon Granger – Jobboom