If the Australian advertising agency, Thinkerbell, had a hand, we’d shake it.
Thinkerbell has recently launched a paid, eight-week internship for people 55-and-over. As Emma O’Leary, from the agency’s culture, operations, and people team, said:
“We’ve created this internship program because our older generation are massively underrepresented in the advertising industry, and have a lifetime of experience to bring to our agency and our industry. You could be a retired hotel concierge that’s interested in running our front of house, a detective who wants to do some insights work, or a newspaper cartoonist who’s looking for the next creative challenge.”
Life experience is what gives us the edge as job seekers, and it would be great if other companies followed Thinkerbell’s lead in recognising that we possess knowledge and skills in bucketloads.
But we can back up that experience with an excellent job-hunting strategy, like this one.
- Don’t be afraid of your age: Age implies experience, dependability, wisdom, a good work ethic, punctuality, organisational and communication skills, plus a whole lot of accumulated knowledge you can use to train younger staff. So, don’t be afraid of your track record; emphasise it on your CV.
- Make your CV relevant: Too many CVs are too long and contain superfluous information that doesn’t interest employers. One or two pages is all you need; adjust your CV for each job application so that the details are relevant to the specific requirements of that position.
- Target smaller companies: It’s widely accepted that smaller companies are more prepared to take on older workers than larger organisations, as they place greater value on loyalty and accumulated skills and knowledge that mature team members bring with them
- Get in touch with employment agencies: Some employment agencies specialise in finding work for people over the age of 50s. Others will happily give you their impressions of the local job landscape, and where you might be placed within it. Contact as many agencies as you can and ask for 15-20 minutes of their time for a quick chat.
- Look at temporary as well as permanent: In a changing job market, the conventional 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job is not as common as it used to be. Temporary, interim, contract and part-time roles are becoming the norm, so don’t ignore them – they could be a foot in the door to something more ongoing.
- Broaden your social network: In the spirit of “who you know, not what you know”, get onto social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn and reconnect with old friends, former colleagues, and employers. They might not have a job for you, but they may know of someone who will. Forums and career-specific groups on LinkedIn are also a rich source of job vacancies so make sure you sign up for that particular platform as part of your social networking.
- But don’t be overly social on social: While social media is a great way to widen your network, it is also the place where employers go to check up on potential employees. Make sure your “digital footprint” is all above board and nothing to be embarrassed about; change your privacy settings if you have to.
- Be ready for your interview: It might have been a while since your last job interview. Get as much practice as you can if you’re fortunate enough to have been invited for one. There are plenty of free online resources to help you.
- Ask for feedback: If you don’t get a job, at least try and get something out of the experience. Ask for feedback about the interview and why they didn’t take you on. A few tweaks based on their response could be the key to securing a role with another company in the future. Plus, asking for feedback shows the employer you’re keen and eager, and that might stand you in good stead should something else come up.
There is also another option...ever thought about starting your own business? Here's why now is a great time to do it.