Randstad Canada HR Blog

Older or Younger In Your Job Hunt, Experience Matters Most

Posted by James Rubec on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 07:56 AM


Experienced or Not How You Market Yourself Makes a Difference 

By James Rubec

Whether you are under 24 years old or over 55, most Canadians think you have a tough time finding a job. Either way, how you present yourself and build your resume can have a huge impact on whether you get a job or not. 
Findings from Randstad's latest Workmonitor survey indicated that Canadians believe it is harder for both younger and older workers to find a suitable job. For more details on the Workmonitor survey, see our news release. 
When asked to rate their agreement on the statement “I believe it is hard for young people (aged 25 or younger) to find suitable job,” 86% of respondents agreed or agreed strongly. Similarly to the statement “I believe it is hard for older people (aged 55 or older) to find a suitable job,” 89% of the respondents agreed or strongly agree, with only 2% of respondents strongly disagreeing.

Knowing this, here are some tips for older and younger workers alike. 

Tips for Older Workers Applying for Jobs

Your experience is your strength and communicating that experience successfully will be the difference between being considered for a position or not. If you show them added value of leadership, systems management and mentorship you’ll be an extremely strong candidate. 
The statement “younger workers are better investments” doesn’t hold water, don’t be discouraged by that false perception and keep applying to jobs. The truth is that younger employees are more likely to hop-jobs than their older counterparts. The average length of time a young adult will stay in a position is one to two years. If you have a track record of significantly more than that, it may be your greatest advantage.

When you’re applying to a job ask yourself about your previous experience;

1. If you managed people, how many people did you manage and what did you all accomplish together? Giving someone the context of your experience is valuable; your hiring manager might not understand the scope or importance of your prior work experience without it.

2. How much experience do you have working in multi-generational teams and what were your strategies for relating and working well with these teams? You’ve been working in diverse groups for a long time, sharing how you’ve helped  develop younger employees and integrated them into your projects will show your flexibility and talent for mentorship.

3. How does my online profile stack up against my competition? Your experience has greatest value when it is easily accessed by people looking for talent. Your profile on Linkedin can help show employers that you work well in the digital world and can fit into their corporate environment.

4. Are you applying for the right jobs? How you approach a company is different depending on what skills you’re trying to sell. Many companies keep highly skilled contractors on as part time staff for niche project elements that there isn’t enough demand for. Contract work gives you more flexibility and changes how you apply for jobs.

Tips for Younger Workers Applying for Jobs

As a younger worker your advantage is in your flexibility to learn and recent training on the newest techniques or technology. Depending on your field these advantages can be greater or lesser; like in communications where the fact you’ve been engaged with social media since its inception may give you an advantage against someone who isn’t as well versed in its techniques.

When you’re applying to a new job here are some things to think about;

1. Your references can play a big role in asserting your professionalism. Develop your relationships with your current employer and leave on the best terms possible to make sure you cultivate a strong reference from the experience you already have.

2. Jobs are about projects and your role in those projects is an important part of your experience. Think about what projects you’ve taken part in, the leadership roles you took in them and how your project experience applies to jobs that you’re applying to.

3. As maligned as they are, internships can be a great way to enter the job market. If you’re looking at your resume and what you see doesn’t stack up well against what you’re applying for, consider doing some free work to put some more meat on your CV.

4. How you present yourself goes beyond having a well-organized resume with a lot of experience. Are you displaying all of the skills you have with your resume and are you speaking honestly about your character? Companies want to invest in youth and help them develop; give them a taste of what they’ll get from doing so.