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How to apply for a job when you’re 50+

job huntingJob searching. It isn't the most delightful of activities no matter what your age, but if you've been out of the loop for a while it can seem more daunting than it needs to. So we asked experts The Age and Employment Network (TAEN), to give us a head start. Here are their tips for getting ahead while searching for a job that's right for you.  

Many of us are far from ready (or able) to hang up our work hats at 50. But if you’re applying for a new job after either being out of the workplace for some time, or being in the same job for perhaps decades, you may find it a little challenging. We’ve teamed up with The Age and Employment Network to compile these essential tips on getting a job when you’re 50+

Where to find out about jobs

It’s no longer the case that jobs are only advertised in a newspaper or at the job centre. There’s actually lots of lots of online resources where jobs are routinely listed - a few of the bigger ones are Guardian jobs, Trading Times (who specialise in the over 50s) and Linkedin. And there are also sites like Monster, where you can upload your CV for prospective employers too.

Constructing a CV

Your CV is essentially your ‘sales’ document which will show your potential employer that you have the skills, experience, or potential to do the job you are applying for. Despite the increased use of application forms for public and voluntary sector jobs, CVs are still particularly useful when approaching small and medium-sized enterprises employing fewer than 250 people. It is essential that you tailor your CV to the needs of the employer instead of just making it a general description of your work history or life so far.

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All CVs include the same basic information but will differ in the way that information is presented to the employer. This means that you may have several versions of your CV as you may want to emphasise particular strengths for particular jobs.

While a chronological CV is sometimes preferred by agencies, you should aim for constructing a CV that highlights your strengths by focusing on your skills and experience so that it ‘shouts’ the job you are after.

Do include: 

  • Your name, address, and contact details
  • A short profile that introduces you and the position you hope for - to provide a quick overview
  • Relevant skills for the job
  • Work history
  • Qualifications (highest level only unless lower level qualifications are relevant to a specific role)
  • Training, including in-house training, which could be useful for future roles
  • Your interests outside of work, including any relevant volunteer information.

Don’t include:

Any details about your age, state of health, nationality, or marital status unless you feel that this information is relevant to the job that you are applying for. However, you need to be truthful, as providing false information could lead to dismissal from the job that you have worked so hard to get.

Your CV should be a maximum of two pages. It should be easy to read and have no spelling mistakes.

Writing a covering letter

woman workingIf you think of your CV as your personal ‘sales’ document, your covering letter serves as a preview for all that you have to offer. You should always include a covering letter when sending your CV to an employer, but make sure you tailor the letter to the job that you are applying for.

1) Include why you are writing. This could be an answer to an advertised vacancy, or a speculative letter asking whether an employer has vacancies in your field.

2) In your covering letter, you will want to highlight your particular skills that are relevant to the job you are seeking.

3) Good presentation is essential, so if possible your letter should be word processed on a computer.

4) Also, make sure to check your spelling and grammar.

5) Ideally, the letter should be addressed to a particular person by name. If you’re not sure of the name, phone the company and ask for the most relevant person.

Next, with a bit of luck, you’ve got an interview. Read our tips on job interviews over 50.

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