ATTN: Mature Employees
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Written by: Olivia Newan
What biases may you encounter? Included are tips on how to respond to potential interviewer objections.
Americans are retiring at older ages than ever: about 70 years old is the new retirement age. Social security starts between 62 and 70 years old, but many people are working out of necessity. As of 2006, about 19% of Americans aged 65+ worked full or part time. This translates to an additional 9 million retired age individuals in the workforce. So, since it looks like 70+ years is the new 62 years old, and that congratulatory company gold watch may not be coming your way soon, you may be looking at having to enter the workforce as a mature person (i.e., 60 years or older). Even though you can take nutrients to “keep going”, youthful vigor isn’t all that’s required to be successful in today’s workforce as a potential mature employee.
If you have past managerial work experience without any gaps in your work history, then you’re in a good position for work. In 2016, older Americans held the greatest number of managerial positions despite making up only a small percentage of the total workforce. 52% of older workers are pushed out of their jobs due to layoffs or ownership changes however, so even those who are managers (or have the respective experience) may not be completely safe.
Older workers aged 55-64 are nowhere near ready to retire due to the affordability of retirement itself. The median retirement account balance for such workers is $15,000. A sizable number of highest paid workers (i.e., those making $200,000 annually) have managed to corner themselves into delayed retirement with a full 15% of them having no retirement plan except for Social Security.
Oftentimes, more mature workers may have gaps in their work history due to family-related reasons such as raising children or taking care of their own elderly parents. This could lead to questions about these kind of gaps. How could you respond? Well, you could lie. Instead, the most recommended course of action is to list the gap in your resume just like any other work experience. That way, you’ve highlighted the gap. It shows that you’re open to talk about it. You’re not making the employer bring it up on their own. When talking about the gaps in employment, make sure to mention any additional training or classes that you took. Volunteer work does count. Definitely emphasize your eagerness to return to the workforce during the interview. Another helpful tip is to take a hypothetical scenario and solve it. For example, if you’re applying for an advertising position, it’d be helpful to create a mock campaign for a big brand and/or to critique the efforts of the brand name’s advertisers and offer plans and ways to improve the campaign itself. This shows your employer that your experience has given you the novel problem solving tools that younger workers may lack. It also shows that you have the creativity and initiative to anticipate problems from your case study that would extend to real life examples. And that’s due to your experience which cannot, then, be glossed over.
United States Bureau Labor of Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/
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