What Employers Want

Many mature workseekers desperately want acknowledgement of themselves as valuable individuals, and approach their jobsearch with that uppermost in their minds. The reality is, however, most employers are not really interested in who the person might be – or at least not until that person is working in their business and they get to know him or her.

They’re interested primarily in the skills the person is ‘selling’ and that they’re not going to be the sort of person likely to create chaos in the business in any way, shape or form!

In these competitive times, they are looking for ‘can do’ people who are action- oriented and self-directed, and every bit of the recruiting process is designed to cast off those who do not appear (rightly or wrongly) to have those characteristics.

The résumé remains the chief marketing tool for most mature workseekers applying for positions, whether advertised in print or online.

It must be short – no more than 2 to 2.5 pages – and must provide information on what the applicant is selling right up front in the first half page – this is the crucial window of opportunity. For online applications, the document must contain as many of the keywords used in the advertisement as possible. Online applications are screened by software that will reject documents that do not meet their matching criteria.

For mature jobseekers, many of whom have had at least two or three major changes of career in their working lives, the problem is how to narrow down and label their broad skills sets, so they are marketable. They know they can do just about any job, and that often means they lose their focus. You can’t sell ‘just about anything’!

Another important factor is that, when it comes to working, people in their fifties are motivated differently from younger generations.

The mature folks in this age bracket do not usually have the worldly and material ambitions to take over someone else’s business; they want to make a genuine contribution and be valued for it.

A person’s work or job in the latter years needs to tap into, and give opportunities for, some form of expression of what gives that person’s life meaning at a deep level. It’s about what matters in life and the legacy one will leave. These are very different lifestage realities than what motivates younger workers.

Grace Johnson: Grace Johnson Training Services

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