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Mature students and graduates

Mature students are defined as any student aged 21 or over at the start of their studies. When discussing the mature or older workforce, this generally applies to those aged in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

As a mature student, you have a lot of additional skills and experiences to offer a potential employer. Despite this, it can still be daunting entering the job market or changing career later in life.

Legal implications

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against employees, job seekers and trainees because of age.

'Age neutral' application forms are now common and employers are making sure their publicity and recruitment material doesn't put off older or younger people from applying. Target Jobs

What employers say

“As an employer what we’re looking for is to hire individuals who are enthusiastic and have the right skills to succeed.”  Allianz

Allianz Insurance is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and part of the Allianz SE Group, the largest property and casualty insurer worldwide.  They recently won the Excellence in Diversity Award 2016 in the Private Sector category.

Within KPMG’s FAQs, when asked about an age limit for their graduate schemes, they said:

‘No, age is not important to us. KPMG is an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our commitment to creating the kind of inclusive workplace that treats everyone with respect, and where people can be themselves and still achieve their potential. All applicants are judged on their demonstrated abilities, so as long as you meet our minimum academic criteria, you can apply to KPMG.’

CV advice for mature students and graduates

  • Since the introduction of age legislation it is no longer necessary to include your date of birth on your CV.
  • Produce a concise CV that clearly outlines all relevant experience.
  • Always try to equate any unfamiliar qualifications to A levels or GCSEs, just so the employer has a rough idea of their level.
  • Be sure to include all work experience, whether paid or unpaid. Employers are more interested in the skills gained than whether you got a salary.
  • If you have had a lot of varied short term jobs, make sure you don't leave any chronological gaps. You can summarise some of the less recent and less relevant jobs (for example: 1985–1992 a variety of temporary admin jobs in the Hampshire area).

Top tips for mature students and graduates

  • If you get an interview you're half way there, so be confident!
  • Use positive language in applications and at interviews. Never apologise for your age.
  • Use contacts from previous jobs as well as friends and family.
  • Identify the skills you developed from previous work, studies, and life experience - such as teamwork, communication and adaptability.
  • Stress your ability to hit the ground running - you know all about working for a living.
  • Demonstrate your experience of making effective business decisions, and give examples.
  • Highlight your time management and self-motivational skills.
  • Demonstrate mixed-age experience.
  • Convey your reliability, loyalty and confidence to manage change.

Useful links

Target Jobs - In their careers advice section they have a range of useful information related to equality & diversity.

Diversity Jobs – This site only displays jobs from employers who understand the value of building a diverse workforce.

The Big IDEA - ‘The Big I.D.E.A.’ stands for Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, Accessibility – It is the central hub for the diversity industry, forward-thinking employers and job seekers to communicate. ‘The Big I.D.E.A.’ is powered by DiversityJobs.co.uk.

TAEN - The Age and Employment Network works to promote an effective labour market that serves the needs of people in mid and later life, employers and the economy.

Page last updated on Wednesday 24 August 2016 at 2.52pm.

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