Mature worker classified ads

Report: How much time do Canadians spend looking for work?

Renee Sylvestre-Williams|

StatsCan released a report this week that revealed that older workers (those 55 to 64) spent just as much time looking for work as younger workers (20 to 34) from 2006 to 2010. Both demographics spent an average of 13 hours per week looking for jobs.

The time spent looking for work may be the same but the survey found that older and younger workers used different methods to find work.

Younger workers preferred the direct approach with 49 per cent contacting employers versus 42 per cent of older workers.

As expected, the younger workers were much more likely to use the Internet as part of their job search with 23 per cent versus just 18 per cent of older job seekers.

In a digital age, job ads still play a role especially with older workers. Twenty-one per cent looked at job ads, twice the amount for those in the 20 to 34 age group. Eight per cent of workers in the 55 to 64 age range have also used a public or private employment agency.

No matter how you look for a job, there are always some things to keep in mind:

Do your research

If a job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always research a company before you go on an interview. A legitimate company will have an electronic footprint that can be easily found via Google.

Research also prepares you for the interview because you’ll know the company’s history, the role and the market rate for the position. This part is especially important as the survey found that 81 per cent of the older workers would accept a new job if the wage was 10 per cent less than their previous job. Only 69 per cent of younger workers would so it’s crucial that you know the market rate for your field otherwise you might end up working for much less than your colleagues.

This is likely because older workers reported being more pessimistic about their prospects of finding a job quickly, and in a tight labour market, people are more willing to lower their standards.

Know the cycle

Newspapers tend to run the most career classifieds on a specific day. Make sure you buy your paper on that day to see the widest selection of jobs.

Bookmarks and emails

Job websites like Workopolis allow job hunters to create their own job alerts. That way you can target a company and receive emails when a job has been posted by the company.

Finally, the StatsCan survey found that both age groups looked for work outside their community (40 per cent). Which is good strategy, because the more you keep your options open, and the further you are willing to travel for work, the greater your options will be.

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Some Workopolis tips for older workers looking for a new job:

Update your resume. Have a modern format, highlighting key career accomplishments and focus on jobs going back the past ten years. It isn’t necessary to list every job you’ve ever held, so stick to what is most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Packing in too much unrelated information will only serve to water down the good stuff.

Read job descriptions and learn the keywords that employers use in their job postings. Many resumes and applications now are filtered through screening software before human eyes ever see them. If your document doesn’t have the relevant keywords that employers are looking for, it will never be seen.

Use your experience. Older workers have the advantage of having more professional working experience than younger people. Leverage the skills that you’ve built up over your career. Think about your skills that can apply across industries, such as project management, communication, research, and relationship-building. Are you a skilled and effective writer or public speaker? Have you led a successful team or taken a project from plan to fruition? Can you manage a budget or schedule multiple tasks for a team of people? All of these skills and experiences can be applicable to many different kinds of jobs.

Keep your skills current. Computer skills are particularly key. Most employers are going to expect people to be comfortable using a computer, accessing the Internet and using email and basic office software. These are readily available communications tools, so practice, and take a course if necessary. 

 

Network. Both online and in person.Again, older workers have had more time to build up a community of people they’ve worked with. Reach out to your network and let them know what you can do and what you’re interested in. Many jobs are filled through family, friends and coworkers and you never know who in your network might be connected to an employer looking for someone like you.


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