Monthly Archives: May 2013

How to use your age to secure more job opportunities

Reproduced from adageblog. May 1, 2013

It’s Time to Start Using Your Age to Your Advantage

We are fortunate to live in a diverse society with people from different cultural, religious and economic backgrounds. Unfortunately, sometimes with this diversity comes personal prejudice.
Conscious or unconscious, we are always going to be faced with the challenge of personal bias. However, this is not to say our ‘differences’ can’t be used to our advantage.
While age discrimination does exist in Australia, I cannot help but sometimes feel mature jobseekers are their own worst enemy.
Looking specifically at the job market, too often mature jobseekers lament that their age is preventing them from getting a job. But perhaps maybe, it is their own personal bias working against them? Instead, a proactive and positive approach needs to be taken whereby the jobseeker can prove to the respective employer, that their age is an asset rather than a liability.
Here are a couple of tips from Heidi Holmes on how you can use your age to your advantage:
Does your CV make you look older than what you are?
Your CV is often the first impression you impose on your prospective employer, so it is imperative you get the message right here. Don’t feed any bias by listing 20+ years experience you may have in something that is completely irrelevant to the role you are applying for. Remember, the person who is reading your CV wants to know how you can fit in and contribute to the organisation – not how you have contributed in the past. Focus on highlighting achievements in various roles rather than responsibilities.
One of the biggest myths about mature jobseekers is that they are reluctant to change. Therefore you need to be able to demonstrate that throughout your career you have adapted and embraced new ways of doing things.
Stop apologizing – start selling
This is something we all need to be conscious of but even more so, those who may be suffering low self esteem. It appears when we doubt ourselves our natural defence mechanism is to apologise for it. In the case of a mature age jobseeker this happens more often than not.
Identify the aspects of your past that worry you, then, spend some time thinking about the positive attributes you gained from each of those experiences. For example, you may have worked in the same industry for over 20 years. But during that time you learnt to adapt and evolve with the company. You may have also contributed to shaping company culture by taking on informal mentoring roles with your younger peers.
Don’t simply fall into the trap of seeing exactly what the recruiter sees on the page. Acknowledge what you may think would be unappealing and have a positive spin ready for it.
The key to successfully securing a job at any age lies in your ability to effectively market yourself as Dr Vesna Grubacevic reiterates below.
An Attitude of Success
More and more employers are hiring on the right attitude. Often when two candidates have the same technical skills and experience, the one with the right attitude will stand out and succeed at interviews. Creating an attitude of success begins with your thinking. Fear of rejection or fear of getting a “no” is the major reason preventing people from doing well before and after interviews. If you have a fear of rejection, you may find yourself doing or saying things in an interview which has the other person respond with a “no”, and so they reject you anyway. Once you resolve these fears and limiting beliefs, your confidence will grow and you will more easily secure the job you want.
Watch your self talk
If the chatter in your brain is constantly negative, after a while you will start to believe it which will impact on your behaviour, and prevent you from securing a job. Think about your self talk. What are you saying to yourself as you talk with potential employers? Are you thinking that they are not interested in your skills or that age is an issue? Are you questioning the value you offer? Or are you worried about being too pushy, therefore procrastinate about taking action? Instead, start to fill your mind with positive thoughts using this simple technique:
1. With your eyes closed, think about your next eg. interview – where, when and with whom it will be.
2. Be clear about your outcome for that interview. What would you like to achieve at that interview? For example, if it is a first interview, your outcome may be to secure the second interview or to be short listed.
3. Imagine a movie screen in front of you and see yourself in the movie like an actor/actress at that interview with the other person at the location of your interview.
4. As you watch the movie, see that interview turn out exactly as you would like it to be, hear the conversations you would like to hear and feel exactly how you would like to feel.
5. Notice how you now feel better about that interview when you focus on what you want, and how you now look forward to it. Open your eyes feeling good about your interview.
Highly successful people and athletes use this technique to visualise a successful event or game. Research shows those athletes who visualise rehearsing and having a successful game do as well on game day as do athletes who have physically rehearsed and practiced prior to the game! If you would like your next interview to be a winning one, do what successful people do – mentally rehearse success to attract success.
An employer is always going to hire someone based on the organisation’s needs, not yours. They want to know how your skills and experience can be used to solve their problem. Regardless of your age, if you bring the expertise required to the table plus an attitude of success you will always present as a potential candidate.
Heidi Holmes is the Managing Director of, Australia’s leading job board for mature age workers. Register for free and search for jobs with age friendly employers who value experience and maturity at
Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is the founder of award-winning company Qt, an NLP Trainer, who holds a PhD in Clinical Hypnotherapy and a BEc. She is an author, speaker and the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques. For more techniques on improving your career success and for your FREE gifts, visit


Grey expectations, or a Silver lining- The challenges facing older workers

Reprinted from The Conversation, September 28th, 2012

Welcome to Shades of Grey, a series from The Conversation that examines the challenges posed by Australia’s ageing workforce. Today, Adjunct Associate Professor Margaret Patrickson from the University of South Australia takes a look at the underlying desires and expectations of our older workers.

Though much has been written about the issues that arise from workforce ageing, there is still not enough information about which older people might desire to work into their seventies or beyond — let alone whether they might actually have the opportunity to do so.

Since the turn of this century, both politicians and social analysts have consistently encouraged older people to remain in the workforce. The OECD has been especially vocal in this regard, even though there is little evidence to suggest these desires are being reflected in increasing opportunities for older people to work.

Lengthening life expectancy and consequent projected rising demands for pension income to support those no longer working underpin much of this rhetoric. Australian experience, however, indicates that unless older people have scarce sought-after skills or would be prepared to work either part time or accept power paid positions their options may be limited.

Those most likely either to seek a job — or find themselves a suitable niche in the workforce — tend to come either from skilled trades or professions, where skill shortages have forced employers to look outside their traditional hiring base. They include medical practitioners, plumbers, hairdressers, tilers, nurses, retail assistants, pharmacists and accountants.

They fall into two sub-groups. The first consists of skilled professionals who seek opportunities to continue to apply and utilise their skills, often on a part time or contract basis, and who gain significant personal satisfaction from making a contribution and feeling valued. This group contains a number of individuals who have previously reached high levels of expertise in their chosen profession, who command high salaries for their expertise and are often attributed with possessing high levels of wisdom and experience.

A second sub-group consists mainly of those who seek additional income to support their lifestyle, and this group often has to accept unpopular hours, shift work, frequently a less skilled job than an earlier full time role, and often lower pay. Those outside these two groups — and this would appear the larger group of older people — tend not to seek paid work as they either have enough to live on or else have not yet reached the level in their profession where they can command premium incomes and respect. Alternatively, their skills may be outdated and they do not wish to outlay funds to maintain their skill levels.

Members of this latter group frequently occupy the ranks of voluntary workers in our community and perform roles on which our economy relies on their unpaid input. Many of them see retirement as an opportunity for finding personal fulfilment and exploring new pursuits not previously open to them while they were working.

Opportunities where older workers might actually find work are far fewer than those seeking work and tend to be found in the peripheral workforce especially where labour scarcity or skill scarcity prevails. They tend to lie outside traditional full-time employment with larger organisations or within the public sector. A few vacancies exist in health, personal services, or in the building industry, where SMEs may frequently be more adaptable and flexible in their hiring practices.

One recent survey of employers by Guest and Schacklock indicates that older workers — though seen as experienced, loyal, dependable, hard working and reliable — are at the same time not viewed as creative, aggressive or willing to learn or change. Whether or not an individual might succeed in securing work depends on a combination of push and pull factors. Push factors include the non-availability of full time work, failing health, downsizing, relocation or similar. Pull factors include income augmentation, skill utilisation, opportunities for new skill acquisition, social interaction and possibly working from home.

Resolving these competing demands provides challenges that differ significantly between individuals largely as a consequence of differences in skill, occupation, family circumstances, location and personal attitudes to flexibility. It may be difficult to generalise or develop a one size fits all approach to the issue.

There are, however, several matters that have arisen from the investigations into the circumstances older workers face and how they react to them.

First of all, many older individuals would not welcome being made feel they need to work after they turn 65. Rather, they may see this time in their life as an opportunity to explore alternatives other than working. Secondly, unless their work-related skills are up to date, their opportunities are likely to be less than they enjoyed when working full time and many do not want to have to outlay their own funds to maintain skill levels. Thirdly, finding an employer willing to hire them even for other than contract, casual or part time work may be challenging and they would need to pursue this option vigorously for success. Nonetheless, opportunities may arise in SMEs or through personal recommendations.