As Prince Charles says 'There is Life in the Old Dog Yet'
Sep 20, 2013
We’re in a bit of a catch 22 situation. We have an ageing population which means that the percentage of Over 50s in the UK is increasing, yet for some reason we are hell bent on giving the few jobs that are available to the younger generation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being ageist; I completely understand and feel for the school leavers who are struggling to get their foot in the employment door but equally I am extremely concerned about the increasing number of Over 50s who are deemed unemployable because they can officially join a Saga Cruise.
It’s great to see that true ambassadors for the cause like Prince Charles are stepping forward and launching charities like PRIME (The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise) set up to help workers who are either out of work or facing redundancy start their own business. Having already helped more than 23,000 in England and Wales, the charity runs courses which help people develop an enterprising idea and learn about business plans, cash flow and marketing techniques.
Since 2008 the number of unemployed Over 50s has rocketed by almost 80% with 1 in 4 being out of work for more than 2 years; a crying shame given the wealth of experience gained by this sector of the population.
Employers of course need to make a stance and start being more open to the wealth of skills and experience an older person can bring to the work place but there are things we can do to make sure we avoid the unemployment scrapheap.
Take a look at my top 10 Over 50s employment Do’s and Don’ts:
1. Don’t put yourself down – Age isn’t a problem so don’t highlight it or apologise for it
2. Don’t talk about new technology as if it’s beyond you
3. Don’t talk about jobs you did 20 years ago – keep it current
4. Do target the right roles and apply for positions that are in keeping with your abilities
5. Do think about examples of past employment achievements that are appropriate to the role you are applying for – they will almost certainly be invaluable when it comes to the interview stage
6. Do make sure your CV is current and up to date – you will find templates on the internet
7. Don’t include your complete working history, employers get put off by long CVs – show the last 10 to 15 years, putting earlier experiences into an ‘early career highlights’ section
8. Do keep your CV brief (usually 2 pages), succinct and relevant to the role
9. Do highlight your wealth of experience and the value you can bring to the company and team
10. Do use a networking tool like LinkedIn and make the most of the contacts you have built up over the years – often it’s not what you know it’s who you know that counts
Older employees are often recognised as being more committed, reliable, sensible and great mentors for helping to develop younger workers; in fact McDonalds reports 20% higher performance in outlets that employ workers over the age of 60 so be Over 50 and proud. As Prince Charles said ‘there’s life in the old dog yet’!