If you are over 50 and are looking for a new job you may find that it is a bit of a struggle. Tougher job markets, more competition, and changes to the way you apply for jobs mean that it is harder to find a job. We know that all of these can leave you with a few questions so we have put together this guide to help answer those.

Now is a great time to find a job because employment rates for over 50s are on the up! According to the Office for National Statistics, only 2.6% of people aged between 50 and 64 are unemployed. This is the same rate as those aged 35 to 49. In addition to this, there are also now more women aged 60 to 64 working than ever before.

This is fantastic news; in the past ageism has been blamed for high unemployment rates. Regardless of this, looking for a new job over the age of 50 can be a daunting task.  Despite a wealth of experience, many candidates in their 50s feel that trying to find a job is more of a challenge.

This can be particularly problematic in the tech industry, where many people get told their skills are outdated.

At Ignite, we specialise in digital talent.  We know exactly what makes a great candidate. Here is our round-up of top tips to help with the job search and the interview process.


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Finding a job

When trying to find a job to apply to, the internet is your best friend. There are a wealth of job boards out there ranging in both size and specialism. From the widely known Google Jobs, right down to more industry-specific ones, it is easier than ever to narrow down your search by location, experience level and company.

Lori B. Rassas, author of Over the Hill But Not the Cliff, recommends reaching out to the hiring manager. She suggests doing this is a great way to get to the front of the line.  You should be able to find this information relatively easily on LinkedIn or Google.

Many companies, especially large corporations, do not advertise their jobs on job boards. Instead, they have a dedicated section on their website for jobs at the company.  If there is a specific company that you want to work for make sure that you check out the ‘opportunities’ section of their website.

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Writing a CV

Your CV needs to be eye catching and stand out.  It needs to look good, be easily readable and can be added without effort to CRM systems.

For more advice on creating a perfectly formatted CV, check out our article here.

If design isn’t your area of expertise, don’t worry! You can find lots of CV templates online and there are even some pre-set designs on Microsoft Office Word. However, select which information you include carefully.   No hiring manager or recruitment partner will trawl through a 6-page document. You should also make sure that you tailor your CV to each job you apply for. Remove any irrelevant information and change the order in which things appear so the most relevant is at the top of the list.

You may find that some people recommend you leave dates off your CV, however, Rassas advises against this. She says that when people leave off important information like that it raises red flags. Instead, she recommends focusing on the past 15 to 20 years.

If you have worked longer than that, detail some special projects, but not too many.


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You should also be aware of how skills in the space are currently “looking’’.  Should a senior level applicant mention something basic like Microsoft Office then it is likely that a hiring manager will believe this to be outdated.  However, if you have the tech skills that a job requires then highlight those straight away.

Although it is good practise to have a CV, many jobs don’t require you to apply using a CV.

With this in mind, it is good professional practice to have an up to date LinkedIn profile.

Another common strategy is for companies to have an online application portal.

If a company does want you to submit a CV, then they will give an email for electronic submittal.


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The interview process

The interview process will differ depending on the company to which you have applied.

Normally, if the company like the look of your application, they will call you up to hold a phone interview.

You can read our top 5 tips for phone interviews here.

Some companies may have a secondary screening process and may ask you to complete another round of questions. These can be in the form of an online questionnaire or by asking you to submit short video responses to a series of questions.


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You may have to do an industry-specific test. For example, if it is a tech role to which you have applied, then it is likely you will also have to complete a tech test.  If you are being represented by a recruitment partner, then they will talk you through this and the expectations of the hiring manager.

If you do well in the phone interview, then you will normally be invited for an in-person interview (or if the job is remote then you may be asked to do a video call interview). We also have posts on video interviews and questions to ask at interviews if you need some help with these. These interviews will normally be one to one with the hiring manager. Sometimes companies will hold a group interview first to see how you interact with other people.

Finally, a company may choose to hold second or even third wave interviews where you should expect to meet with senior management and your potential colleagues.


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Top tips:

  • Rassas recommends targeting smaller companies as there is less competition and less of a pipeline of people working for them who could fill open positions.
  • To show that you have tech skills you should make sure that you are present on and know how to use social media platforms. Show that you’re engaged and knowledgeable about the field you want to work in. Write and share articles, comment on posts, follow people at the company you want to work for and comment on their posts.
  • Network – an advantage of being more experienced is that you have had a chance to build up a large network. Get in touch with former co-workers, employers, school friends and colleagues. Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook are great for doing this!
  • If you’re applying for a job that you’re overqualified for then acknowledge this in your cover letter and interview.
  • If doing a job that you’re overqualified for is something that you really don’t want to do, then try targeting not-for-profits and smaller companies looking to expand where your experience will be invaluable.
  • Don’t dismiss contract or temporary work. Many people find permanent positions by starting as a contract employee. It lets the company get to know you and your skills. Even if a temporary position doesn’t lead immediately into a permanent position there may still be a higher chance of them considering you for any future vacancies.
  • Embrace change! Now might be a great time to go for a career change. Think about the skills you have and what you’re passionate about.
  • Finally – reach out to experts. We at Ignite Digital are specialists within the tech, digital and data space.  We know what the ecosystem is looking like, the current on-demand skills and what salary you can expect based on YOUR skills, experience and location.  Our long-standing and industry respected recruitment partners have a 360 immersion in the space.  Reach out to us today to see how we can help you find your next opportunity.


About the author: I manage the recruitment for a range of digital roles for my clients on both a retained and contingency basis. I specialise in senior and confidential appointments, always giving a first class representation of a client’s employer brand.

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