You’d think that getting older and gaining experience in the job market would only help your cause when looking for new employment opportunities. And for years this will prove true. But once you get into the age range when most workers are thinking about retirement, you’ll find that no amount of experience will improve your odds of getting a job. In fact, being in the same field for so long could actually work against you. This is especially true if you don’t have proper or current education under your belt. While employers generally prefer to hire someone with at least a little experience, they also want grads who are up-to-date with the most recent trends in their field, including technology, laws, marketing strategies, and so on. So if you think that a lack of education can’t possibly harm you when you have tons of experience to offer, here are just a few ways that it could seriously undermine your cause; they may change your mind about hitting the books.
- College network. You’ve heard it before: who you know can be more important than what you know. And this maxim holds true when it comes to many types of employment. Of course, you’ve probably made plenty of business contacts over the years, but old college buddies can definitely come in handy when looking for jobs, and you won’t even know what you’re missing if you don’t have them.
- General knowledge. There’s no substitute for on-the-job training when it comes to understanding how to get a job done, but having an education not only signifies that you are proficient in your field, but also that you have a certain level of general knowledge obtained at the collegiate level, including core subject like English, Math, and so on. Many employers want to know that you have met basic requirements like this, which will help you to function in a number of roles.
- Knowledge of current advances. The main conundrum for most businesses when it comes to hiring older applicants is that they likely lack the knowledge of current advances that recent college grads have accumulated. For this reason it’s an excellent idea to continue one’s education, learning about any advances (technological or otherwise) that affect your field. And make sure to mention it during interviews.
- Readiness for a new field. Older adults that suddenly find themselves out of work after a lifetime of employment may decide that they’re interested in doing something new. But with no education in this new field and experience in a totally different line of work, this can be a pretty hard sell. The only real answer in many cases is to gain the education needed to work in a new field, whether that means getting a bachelor’s of science, adding amaster of arts in professional counseling, or obtaining some kind of certification that proves you’re ready to proceed.
- Competition. Hiring agents these days are so inundated by applications that they’re looking for any reason to shrink the pool of candidates. So even if you’re eminently qualified for a job otherwise, a lack of education could land your résumé in the trash without a second glance. You need every competitive edge you can get, and schooling is one of the main considerations for hire.