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Last updated: 27.06.17

Six ways to help over 50s into employment

Age shouldn’t be a barrier when it comes to learning and there are many ways that over 50s can maximise their chances of employment. Here we take a look.

When it comes to employment, age shouldn’t be a barrier to working in a role that you enjoy. However, many over 50s face discrimination by employers who are looking for younger and fresher talent.

According to the BBC, there are around 1.2 million people aged over 50 who are unemployed but willing to work. If they all found work, they would contribute an additional £50 billion to the UK’s economy, argues the BBC.

With them, mature workers bring a range of skills, not to mention life experience and general wisdom. Here we take a look at six ways to help improve your employment chances when you’re over 50.

1. Build confidence

When you have been rejected for a role, it is easy for a person's confidence to be knocked and often, this is one of the main problems for over 50s seeking work. You can build your confidence by reviewing your areas of knowledge or learning a new subject altogether. A common benefit of education and training is that it improves self-confidence.

2. Broaden your horizons

At the age of 50 and over, it's not usual for a person to have worked in the same industry or role for much of their lives. But when it comes to getting back to work you shouldn’t make the assumption that this means returning to something you have done before. Why not try something new and consider different kinds of work? By being open-minded, you are much more likely to find a job quicker than you would focusing on a specific type of role.

3. Nail self-presentation

Rejection sows the seed of self-doubt, which means it can be hard for a person to then present or ‘sell’ themselves in a convincing way. On the other hand, you have candidates that are too confident and come across as arrogant by overselling themselves. There are online training course available for those who are unsure of how to present themselves positively. These will help you to understand your strengths and weaknesses while helping you learn how to communicate on paper and face-to-face.

4. Having the right qualifications

Unfortunately, in many roles, if you don’t have the required qualifications, you won’t get the job. This is why it is essential for over 50s to have the right qualifications for the role. Online training courses will help you gain essential qualifications or skills for work in a specific sector or role.

5. Gaining ‘basic skills’

In the past, there have been many roles that require little to no literacy or numeracy skills, as reading and writing were simply not required. However, as times change and competition remains fierce, these skills are essential to many positions, meaning those without them may struggle to find work. These ‘skills for life’ include: reading and writing, numeracy, IT and basic computing and speaking the English language. If you lack any of these skills, this can easily be addressed with widely available and sometimes free courses.

6. Don’t forget your ‘soft skills’

When it comes to interviews and updating your CV, don’t forget to mention any soft skills you have acquired over the years. Often, if a candidate with all the right qualifications lacks soft skills - such as problem solving, critical thinking, teamwork etc - they won’t get the role. Let your employer know that you possess these attributes skills by providing them with examples of when you have had to demonstrate them.

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