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Job Applicants 50+: Looking For a Job In Old Age?

Looking for a job in your 50s?

The peak comes at the age of 40, after which it becomes increasingly difficult on the job market. 50+ applicants sometimes even become a lottery: Sometimes you are lucky, but usually, you are not. Let's say age discrimination still exists in the labor market. According to statistics, around 8.8 million people between the ages of 50 and 65 are in bread and water. At the same time, only 1/3 of the 55 to 64-year-olds are actually working. At the same time, more and more companies are looking for young employees. People who apply for more than 50 are sometimes rejected for that very reason. But is the applicants with 50+ completely without a chance? No!  Fischer & Partners Recruitment & Executive Search shows how the candidates work even in old age ...



Problems that must overcome for applicants with 50+


Why are older people hardly getting a new job in the job market? One problem: Employers fear that hiring is not worthwhile in the long term. From a purely theoretical point of view, applicants 50+ still have about 15 years and thus not a lot of time in the job - but a candidate with 30 can still be retained for more than 30 years. Investing in an employee is much more worthwhile here.


In addition, human resources often assume that young employees can still be formed. Through training and targeted training and further education, the optimal occupation for a job can be achieved. For older applicants, such developments may be more difficult, the leaps in development smaller and sometimes less willing to change.


Please do not misunderstand this Motto: From the age of 50, you cease to develop. That's nonsense. But it correlates with many people. This is exactly how these prejudices arise on the employer side. Anyone applying with 50+ must, therefore, counteract this stereotype.


The one or the other problem with the 50+ applicant is because they spent decades with an employer and job seekers have to adjust to some fundamental changes in their job application:


  • Distribution channels


Newspapers as a medium of the job advertisement have fallen into the background. The Internet has become significantly more important: corporate websites, job boards, and social networks are the main sources. Find out here and apply here as well.


  • Application process


Applications now meet different criteria, are partly based in the Anglo-American language area. Certain trends are reflected in the application photo, structure or design. Digitization also affects the delivery of the application: instead of mailing, e-mail application or online application is often preferred. Depending on the industry, the application is correspondingly expensive. In the creative industry, it may be like an application video.


  • Skills


Over time, skills-sought have turned to employers. What could be spotted earlier, may already be taken for granted today. For a successful candidate with 50+, you should, therefore, know exactly what skills are required in your industry, the desired profession and the respective employer.


Unfortunately, these are not the only issues you can come across with 50+ applicants. Other difficulties you need to overcome are ...


  • Double standards of companies


Many employers are explicitly looking for candidates who already have work experience and sound knowledge in their field. Actually, the perfect chance for Best Ager, but still, these are often the ones to miss. Guilt is the double standards of companies. Motto: Professional experience yes, but please with young applicants.


  • Different salary expectations


It is only understandable that a Best Ager brings different salary expectations than a university graduate who is currently seeking his first employment after graduation. But that can often be a problem because if companies have the choice, you often opt for the cheaper option. Which company would like to pay several thousand Baht more per year for one employee in the same position?


  • Lack of application knowledge


Many Best Agers were in a permanent employment relationship for many years or even decades prior to their job search. They simply had no reason to refresh their own application knowledge regularly and to inform themselves about which requirements are made. This knowledge can, of course, be made up and learned before the application phase, but other younger candidates here often have it easier, because a lot has changed over the years.


  • Lower flexibility


In order to succeed in the job market, it is often necessary to be very flexible nowadays, especially as far as the place of work is concerned. Commuting is not always possible and so a move may be necessary. If Best Agers has built up life and existence in one place for many years, it is much harder to leave everything behind. Young applicants are much more flexible. They are not tied to one place, often have no family yet and are free to decide where to start a job.


Common mistakes when applying  50+


The supposed shortcoming of old age begins above all in the head. Many older applicants, who have perhaps already received a few cancellations, are increasingly focusing on their age: it becomes an excuse and a justification for the faltering career.


Accordingly, the candidates with 50+ try exactly against this subliminal handicap and write prevailing prejudices in the application. Effect: The exact opposite - they only reinforce the focus on age and not on your true strengths and qualities.


Other mistakes that are repeatedly made by 50+ applicants are:


  • Rigid ideas


It is not easy to make a restart at a new company after so many years. Experienced employees have a hard time accepting the changes. You have very specific ideas about what the job should look like, how high the payment should be and what tasks are in the foreground. Lack of flexibility makes job hunting especially difficult.


  • No adjustment


Some older applicants are unable to adapt to the new application situation and to take account of developments in recent years. This creates application documents that are simply no longer up-to-date and more likely to confirm HR's concerns


  • Lack of motivation


Applicants 50+ feel that they have to stand out especially for their abilities. The applications are therefore long and broad to the various hard skills received, which has been acquired in recent years. Of course, these qualifications are also important, but in the 50+ candidates, you should concentrate on working out your own motivation in order to be able to refute possible prejudices right from the beginning.


Moreover, when applying, 50+ applicants repeatedly make mistakes in the cover letter. The typical formulation mistakes include the following 4 examples that show where pitfalls and false angles lurk ...


  • With my 51 years of life, I want to ...


Having goals is not wrong. Here, however, age is even more emphasized. Triple wrong! First, because it may wake sleeping dogs; second, because age is not a quality criterion; third, because the new employer is not the welfare. Not interested in how you want to realize yourself, but how the company benefits from you. Better Emphasize this and delete all formulations without any meaningfulness when proofreading your application documents.


  • I can look back on 20 years of professional experience ...


That's nice that you can do that. But the perspective is wrong: you look back in time - into your past. But Personnel is looking forward, they are looking for the future ideal occupation for a job and thus someone who can master this challenge. The experience that measures you by year alone is, therefore, a weak argument. Much more important in the cover letter and CV are previous successes. They prove where and how you have created real added value. It is ideal if you can substantiate this even with numbers. Please refrain from mentioning the years of employment in the covering letter, which the personnel sees anyway in the CV. Rather, emphasize that you have all the so-called must-have qualifications (ie all required in the job advertisement) - to 100 percent. Already 95 % of candidates are often sorted out.


  • In my career, I have proven my ability to learn ...


Behind this formulation is a dangerous misconception: Whenever older applicants believe their knowledge is outdated or obsolete and their qualifications are insufficient, they point out their willingness to learn - Motto: Although I can not do the job, I would like to learn it. Please do not succumb to this illusion. Openness and willingness to learn can not compensate for missing skills. At best, university graduates are still given a degree of malleability - and even those who have a hard time missing a must-have qualification. With 50+ you can save this application. Even though it's hard, either acquire these skills or apply for a job elsewhere.


  • Now I want to start again ...


That sounds like rolled-up sleeves, top motivation, a look ahead and a second try ... think! A mistake. Because at the same time it expresses that you were not satisfied with the development so far and that above all you have your own career in view. Of course, it is important that you outline your motivation in the cover letter. But what should the employer understand about wanting to start again? And what if the desired position includes a lot of what you have done so far? Then you end up as a specialist who will soon be bored and more frustrated than ever. Instead of "start again", there will be a crash landing. This should be avoided by Best Agers.



These skills improve in old age


In 50+ applicants, the benefits of age are seldom seen. The focus always seems to be on the problems and disadvantages. Wrong, because scientists have long since agreed that some skills are getting better with age.


From a biochemical point of view, two things are of particular interest to the human brain:


  • His potential is almost inexhaustible and

  • It gets better and better with age.


As you grow older, the mind builds bridges instead of crutches. This improves with age about ...


  • the language ability

  • the variety of expressions is increasing

  • the crystalline intelligence

  • access to synonyms and antonyms is easier.


Access to what has been learned works better for workers 50+ since only new components are added to existing knowledge. This is highly efficient.


In addition, the ability to focus on a task and ignore distractions increases with age. Also, complex Thinking is easier, which helps to find better solutions, even for complicated problems. This goes hand in hand with the ability to distinguish important from unimportant.



Tips for  50+ applicants


Especially with older employees, the choreography and the structure of the application documents are essential. Here you can trick cleverly. This means less polished formulations, but rather presenting meaningful content in such a way that they have the best possible effect.


In addition to pure formalities (tips and information can be found at the end of this article), above all, it is important to put old age in the background and to score points through concentrated expertise and success - and as authentically as possible.


In plain language: In 50+ applicants, your age should not be in the foreground, the focus should be on all the strengths and benefits you bring to the business. Whoever claims that it is not enough is mistaken:


  • You have more work experience.

  • You do not need training.

  • They bring a better knowledge of human nature.

  • You have greater emotional maturity.

  • They cannot be kicked out by setbacks.

  • You have more patience.

  • You can deal well with conflicts.

  • You are aware of your strengths and weaknesses and can use this knowledge.

  • They are especially loyal and do not just wait for the next better offer.

  • They show great reliability.

  • Can handle responsibility better.

  • They are very motivated and want to prove themselves and others.


At the same time, you should not overload your application 50+. Less is more. Choose strengths that fit the job and with which you can really score. Mass alone is not convincing.


But even if you are 50+ candidates, you can score with these application tips and tricks when applying, :


  • Focus on current points


When applying for a job, you will find that the American curriculum vitae has prevailed, where the current stations are being named first. Be sure to use this form, since a chronological CV will initially contain a lot of information that is already in the past.


Even with further education and further training, you can score extra points when it comes to knowledge and know-how that is up-to-date and not ten or more years ago. Of course, if these are key qualifications, you can also specify them, but it will be better to do so, which is not so long ago. What is too long ago and has no very direct relation to the place, you should rather leave out.


  • Established relationships


As you grow older, you may already have a property and that literally makes you immobile. On the other hand, this is also an indication of a stable private environment. Children? They are already out of the woods. Work-life balance? Have you already created yourself? They are also firmly established in the job: integrity and loyalty. You do not change so fast anymore, so get yourself fully reinstated ... disciplined and discreet. Play these benefits sovereign and targeted!


  • Pronounced soft skills


Based on your experience, there is hardly a fellow type with whom you have not worked together. Your knowledge of human nature helps you to assess colleagues fairly reliably after a while. This pays off in dealing because you can respond appropriately to a different type of people in the office. This leads to a more relaxed working environment because you can deal with conflicts.


  • Modern application photo


If older people apply, the application portfolio should reflect modernity and thus visually counteract all stereotypes. So, for example, pay attention to a modern layout of the application (of course not too creative - that seems intentional), but more on a fresh application photo: strong colors, fresh background - everything, just no grandma image. Extra tip: let yourself be photographed in the half profile. This also looks younger than a frontal image. And if it comes to a video chat via Skype, please pay attention to a fresh background (no wall unit), good lighting (look for wrinkles and drop shadow) and a brisk outfit. Just having video chats proves modernity.


  • Flexible salary


The salary requirements are a particularly sensitive topic for applicants with 50+. In fact, they are competing with many younger applicants, who are also usually cheaper to have on the job market. They should therefore realistically question their salary expectations as to whether they can and must really rise during the job change and also fit in with the company. Alternative two: You can argue (if it fits) with advantages: You bring important customer networks and contacts, save training time and can handle their tasks in less time with their knowledge.


  • Professional network


Having contacts is a great advantage when applying. If you've built a large network throughout your career, it's perfectly legitimate to use it for the 50+ application. Talk to acquaintances at other companies, listen around, get information. You may even be recommended by your network for a job.


Basically, a 50+ application follows the same rules as any other application. Of course, your advantages come to the foreground in your case, your experience.


However, you must not rest on that, which means you have to convince the HR manager that you are living in the here and now and are aware of current challenges. Especially current training helps to refute many prejudices.


Not only will you be able to bridge any gaps in the curriculum vitae, but you will also be on the ball in digital developments.



Application 50+: What employers think about


The good news is: the tide is turning. Not only the General Equal Treatment Act contributes to this, colloquially referred to as the Anti-Discrimination Act. Many companies are now realizing that mixed-age teams are more successful and provide more diverse ideas.


And as the people are getting older and older, companies have to rethink anyway and adapt their HR policies to demographic change. Some employers are already using this opportunity to specifically recruit older professionals with great success. Others will sooner or later forced to follow.


In the course of the shortage of skilled workers, salaries are also rising; the higher salary as a counter-argument in applications 50+ no longer counts. Nor is the assumption that older workers are no longer as efficient. Because not only the life expectancy has increased in recent decades. People are also much fitter than ever before. Not for nothing, they say: 40 is the new 20.


However, new opportunities also arise for you - for example, when you inquire on the Internet or by phone about dealing with diversity issues in the company. If the teams already have a good mix in terms of gender, internationality and previous education, an age mix is often not a problem ...