Starting a new job search can be daunting for jobseekers who are close to or past the typical age for retirement, but allow us to put your mind at ease.
Many employers, including the majority of our clients, frequently employ mature age workers. Some of our most accomplished candidates are in their late sixties and early seventies, and many come back to us after a period of retirement looking for part-time and consultative roles.
Despite this, unfortunately many biases and diversity gaps continue to exist in recruitment, with one in three Australians over the age of 55 saying they’ve experienced discrimination due to their age, particularly when applying for jobs.
If you’re a mature worker looking for a new role, here are some easy ways to protect yourself against age bias during your job search.
Tips for overcoming ageism at the job application stage
- Firstly, stay positive. Your age should not be a hinderance and the right employer will value your maturity and wisdom.
- Ensure your CV and covering letter have no indicators of your age. Do not include your date of birth, the year you graduated and your entire employment history. The last 20-25 years will normally be enough.
- Make sure your online professional presence is up to date. Most jobseekers today are subject to digital scrutiny from employers, so its imperative that you have a current LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have an account, it doesn’t take long to set up a profile and add some basic information.
- Set up a new email address. If you’re still using a dated email service such as AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo, there’s a risk people will assume you’re out of touch with technology. We’d recommend setting up a Gmail or Outlook account.
- Ensure your resume is robot-friendly. Many companies today use software to automatically scan job applications for candidate suitability. Here’s our helpful guide for ensuring your CV passes automated screening processes.
- Register with a recruitment agency who is committed to diversity and is experienced with placing mature workers. An ethical recruiter will act as a responsible advocate and promote your skills and experience to prospective employers whilst protecting you from any discrimination.
Tips for beating ageism during job interviews
- Remember you have just as much right to be in this interview as anyone else. Your skills and experience are already a match and this is your opportunity to emphasise that further.
- Draw attention to your experience and accomplishments throughout the interview, but most of all focus on your skills and why they will make you a valuable asset to the business.
- Don’t highlight your age. Even a light-hearted joke or reference could have a negative effect on how the hiring manager perceives you. Instead, express your enthusiasm and desire to continue learning, and if you talk about your personal life, focus on your passions, health and wellbeing.
Thankfully, as life expectancy increases in Australia awareness of age discrimination is growing and many employers are beginning to understand the benefits of engaging the older workforce.
Here’s a list of useful resources for mature age workers:
- Australian Government; Department of Jobs and Small Business: Employer advice for mature age workers
- Australian Human Rights Commission: Details of the Age Discrimination (Act 2004)
- Older workers: A site dedicated to linking mature age jobseekers with age-friendly employers across Australia
- Australian Government; Department of Jobs and Small Business: Career Transition Assistance Programme