Looking for a new job when you’re in your 50s, or older, can be a challenge, even if you have the necessary qualifications or work experience. There are jobs for those who are 50 years and older in Malaysia, but sometimes, it takes a little extra searching to find the right fit.
In some cases, an age bias may be standing in the way. Employers may think that older workers are more expensive to hire and insure. In other cases, employers may question whether PMETs and other professionals over 50 have the relevant skills needed to do the job.
However, we have seen that not only are there plenty of exciting jobs for those over 50 in Malaysia, experienced professionals are in high demand to help lead projects and provide specialised expertise. Here are some tips and advice if you are 50 years and older in Malaysia and searching for a job.
Take a good look at your skill sets
What are your soft and hard skill sets that have gotten you this far in your career? And what are the skills that are missing in your CV? To maximise your appeal to potential employers, you need to convey an awareness of recent industry developments, a commitment to continual learning and an aptitude for using the latest technology.
If you have time, seek out options for upskilling or retraining in order to ensure your skill set stays relevant to the current job market. Here are some ways you can position yourself as a skilled, savvy and well informed professional:
- Build your technology/computer skills with a short course
- Boost your experience with common business technology
- Read industry publications to stay up-to-date with the latest trends
- Join a professional association and attend industry events
- Upgrade an existing qualification, or invest in professional development to fill key skill gaps
Refresh your resume or CV
It’s something that many professionals overlook: the importance of a CV or resume in getting noticed for open jobs. Especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve done an overhaul of your CV, it’s time to go back to square one and create a CV that is eye-catching, well-presented and does well.
Here are a few practical tips for your CV:
- Avoid specifying personal details such as your marital status or date of birth. Your name, address, phone number and email are sufficient.
- Limit your employment history to the last 10-15 years, focusing on the skills and experience most relevant to the role.
- Address any periods away from the workforce in your cover letter or at the interview, highlighting the skills you gained during that time.
Think outside the norm
If finding a suitable role is taking longer than anticipated, try expanding the scope of your job search. Could you transfer your skills to a new or related industry? Would you be willing to look for roles in a different location? If these options don’t suit your situation, consider these ways to keep your skills up to date and take the pressure off while you search for your ideal type of work:
- Part time, contract, or temporary employment
- Offering your services as a coach, mentor or tutor
- Volunteer work
- Becoming a board or community representative
Use your network
Many interviews for senior level positions are generated by personal recommendations; making networking even more important for mature age job seekers.
Let everyone know you are looking for a job, including former colleagues, alumni, family and friends. As well as sourcing potential job leads, you can also gain advice on prospective companies and positions on offer. You might also consider creating a profile on LinkedIn, which has the dual benefit of building your network and demonstrating an aptitude for technology.
Networks are also crucial at this juncture as personal connections play a strong part in opening up possibilities and opportunities. If your networks are not strong enough, it is still not too late to build on them now. Start by doing some pro-bono consulting work — this will help you to build connections across more platforms.
Job market outlook for those in Malaysia
Mid to senior-level candidates in high-value products and R&D are highly sought-after in Malaysia. Also, in rapidly developing economies like Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar, senior-level candidates will have the expertise and experience that companies are looking for to support and accelerate business growth. Especially in key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, information technology, energy and construction.
Again, on the corporate side, employers are seeking professionals who possess robust management experience, regional based roles, clear thought processes, and a wealth of knowledge as well as understanding on the industry.
The competition for local talent in high value-added industries is fierce because there is no real push factor for many senior-level candidates. To overcome this challenge, some employers are now re-looking at their talent attraction strategies as well as considering alternative candidates from related and close sectors.
Stay positive and don’t lose motivation
In a competitive job market, finding the right role can take months. Feelings of frustration are natural. Try to remain patient and focus on the key strengths and experience you offer prospective employers. Project yourself as an energetic, motivated and upbeat professional who embraces change and is open to new challenges.
And whatever you do, don’t give up.