A popular problem in the IT industry (and the job market in general) is how people closer to retirement age find new roles. I’ve been asked several times how someone aged over 50 is able to find a job or start a career in the IT field. I’ve outlined a few tips in this article to assist people in this age bracket find a career in IT. |
Play To Your Strengths
A good way to start a new career or new job is to play to your strengths when going for an interview. If you’d like to get a position in information technology but have little to no experience, then you can play to your strengths by emphasising your communication skills, people management skills or project management skills. You can demonstrate how your past experiences match to a new role that you’re going for. Young information technology professionals don’t have the experience and other skills that more senior workers have, so use this to your advantage.
Update Your Skills
It can be hard going back to learn new skills when all you want to do is find a job. However, it might be something that you just have to do. Some time ago, the only way to get a qualification was to go to a university, study for a few years full time, and get qualified. Now, that has all changed. You could study part time, enrol in short courses, do online courses, even self study with exams. It’s a lot more flexible in these times.
Companies might put less emphasis on degrees and more on experience for senior employees. However, you should still have some level of knowledge about IT. I would recommend finding out what kind of IT job you want to get into, and update your skills in that area. Most qualification providers offer an entry-level course which achieves two benefits – it teaches you the skills you need to know, and gives you an official qualification to help find a job.
Use Your Connections
A good way for people aged over 50 to find a job is to utilise their professional network. A lot of the time, positions are opening without being advertised. Get in touch with friends and co-workers, both recent and distant, to let them know you’re looking for a role and to see if there are any openings that they know about. LinkedIn is a good way to do this. If you haven’t set up an account for yourself, I recommend it. It’s free, and it’s a great way to set up an “online resume” and establish a professional network.
Downplay Your Age, But Don’t Lie
An important part of getting an IT job over 50 is to place less focus on your age. Sure, you may have graduated from university in 1970, but it doesn’t need to be mentioned on your resume. You are a more senior member of the industry, but your exact age isn’t very relevant to the position or the employer at the interview or job hunting stage. This includes only listing jobs or experiences that are relevant to the position. If you’ve had fifteen jobs in the last twenty years, there’s probably no reason to list them all down. List only the ones that are most relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Be A Problem Solver
The main reason people get hired at a company is to solve a problem. That’s the type of thing you’re aiming for when looking for a job. If you can find out what kind of problem the company is having, or why the job position is open, then you can play to that area and highlight how your skills and experience can help solve that problem.
It’s important to act positive when going for a job interview. Sure, in your time you may have had some less-than-favourable employers or jobs, but this is no time to raise them. Companies like the positivity and enthusiasm of their employees, so it’s important to act positive. Try to think of how the job will help you achieve your goals and how it helps challenge you, or anything else you can use to think positive.
If you’re over 50 and looking to get started in the information technology industry, I hope these tips help you in some way. Last of all, good luck!
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