Walking With Dinosaurs: The Plight of the Mature Student
So against all the odds, you’ve graduated as a mature student. You’ve endured all the other students mistaking you for the lecturer on a daily basis, you’ve pretended not to like Dire Straits and been to that one awkward party. Above all, you’ve proven that it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Now it’s time to show the world what you can do and reap the rewards of your three years as a social pariah.
Re-entering the job market as a mature graduate can seem fraught with issues and scaremongers may try to convince you that the odds are stacked against your success — but this is far from true.
There are numerous guides out there for mature students but when it comes to actually hitting the job market, practical advice is a little harder to come by. Below are just a few reasons why being a mature graduate has its own advantages.
Age is just a number!
It’s a long held myth that companies are put off by mature applicants. In fact, the Equality Act of 2010 actually prohibits companies from being ageist in any way. Retraining or changing careers later in life shows motivation and dynamism— qualities that are highly prized by employers across every industry.
Your CV already has something on it…
Any undergraduate over the age of 21 is—somewhat laughably—classed as a mature student, but 40% of mature students are over 30 and already have work and life experience that can enhance their CV. Even if you are switching to a completely new industry, a proven track record in customer service, dealing with deadlines, or having had any position of responsibility is only going to increase your chances of landing that dream job. Experience is your biggest advantage, so anything relevant should go on that CV.
A diverse skill set is increasingly sought after
Adaptability and multi-skilling will become ever more relevant in the future workplace.
As mentioned above, many mature students have valuable experience behind them, which gives them a head-start in creating a diverse skill set. Even attributes that you may take for granted—such as planning your finances, business communication, or even general knowledge—can take years to attain, which makes that age gap seem that little bit smaller.
Working your way up
Okay, there’s no sugar coating it, if you are starting out in a completely new industry, you may find you are working under some young upstart that thinks Christopher Ecclestone was the original Dr Who. For someone who has been in the world of work for a few years, this might be more than a little awkward. The good news is that mature students have faster promotion rates – meaning if you suck it up and show what you can do, you won’t be at the bottom for long.
The future’s bright…
As it turns out, mature graduates earn more and have better job prospects than their younger peers. A study of official Higher Education Statistics Agency data has found mature graduates earn, on average, 25 per cent – or almost £4,400 a year – more than those graduating under 25. Further to this, older graduates are almost four per cent more likely to be in full-time employment six months after graduation.
So, all things considered, the risk of going to university as an old timer is not quite as big as you may have been led to believe. You have life experience; you’ve had more interview practice, and most importantly, you know that the real world isn’t quite as woolly as the cosy sanctuary of university. Being a mature graduate on today’s market is only a hinderance if you let it be so!
Joshua Downes is a guest contributor for Inspiring Interns.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency which specialises in sourcing candidates for internship jobs and giving out graduate careers advice. To hire graduates or browse graduate jobs London, visit our website.