Looking for Work After 55

30 June 2021
Today, mature workers are staying in the workforce past the traditional “retirement age.” According to a recent (2018) Labour Force Survey by the Federal Government, Canadians aged 55+ now account for 37.9 per cent of the workforce. Some individuals are unable to stop working for financial reasons. Meanwhile, others may continue their careers because they like the social connection or find purpose in their job.

Many companies understand the added value that a mature worker brings to their workplace. Along with bringing experience and strong skill sets, employees with decades in the workforce can mentor younger staff and provide leadership in both formal and informal ways.

For a mature worker who is looking for employment, there are a few things to keep in mind during the process.

Update Your Resume
For many jobs, a resume is what gets you in the door. The tips below will help you highlight your experience and stand out from the crowd.           
  • Remove all references to your age in your resume. It’ll be clear from your experience that you are a mature worker, but it’s not necessary to add your birthdate or to include other age-related information.

  • Limit the length of your resume—you want it to be short and easy to read. A resume isn’t a detailed list of everything you have done; just include the highlights of your skills and overall experience. Do some research into the type of resume you need for your chosen industry.

  • Highlight times when your maturity and experience were helpful in previous jobs. If you mentored a younger staff member, include that. If you took the lead on projects, include what you did, how you showed leadership, and what the results were.

  • Create a professional-looking, digital copy of your resume. Many software programs have ready-made resume templates to use. While most job applications are done online today, an employer may still print a resume to read it. Making sure that your resume looks good in both digital and print formats is key. 

Highlight Your Experience Instead of Hiding It
Mature workers come with experience—and for many companies, that’s a great thing. It’s important to remember this and to be confident in your abilities. On that note, here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • “Own” your maturity and experience. If you were in a job for a decade, show how your loyalty and dedication could benefit the next company. While you don’t need to tell a potential employer your age (and it’s illegal for them to ask), explain that you bring strong skills and solid experience, and give examples of times when the fact that you are a mature worker helped a company. Read how Marilou’s experience brings value to her clients. 

  • Manage the idea that you might be overqualified or have too much experience. You can do this by explaining why you want to work for the company and how your skills would be useful in the position that you want. Let them know that you are ready to pitch in and help where needed, that you are a team player, and that you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. 

Show That You Use Technology
These days, technology is everywhere. You don’t want your would-be employer worrying that you aren’t up to date when it comes to using a computer, smartphone or other technology that they consider to be commonplace. There are ways to address this:
  • Highlight the software and digital programs that you know how to use in both your resume and your interview. Mention tools that you have expertise with—this could include programs for financial management, presentations or project management. Also list any courses or workshops that you have taken in this area.  

  • If your interview is being held via videoconference, make sure that you are comfortable with whatever they use. Ask a family member or friend to do a mock interview with you using the technology so that you will come across as confident with it during the interview.

Mature workers bring a range of benefits to a company. While looking for work when you are 55+ can feel challenging, remember that there are many businesses out there looking for the skills and experience you have!
Resources for Mature Workers
Job Application Tips