Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects, October 2009
Mature graduates have many strong points which could become selling points. In these officially age-neutral times the discerning employer should be open to persuasion that individual candidates aged around 30 and upwards offer some or all of the qualities below, as well as any specialist knowledge.
Examples of when these qualities were demonstrated can be extracted from a range of work and life experiences for use in applications and interviews as appropriate.
Adaptability - as shown by the move from employment or other activities into higher education.
Self-motivation - making and carrying through the decision to go to university later in life is as fitting an example as any.
Stability - on the whole, older graduates are more likely to stay in a job rather than flitting elsewhere, because of established family and living arrangements.
Communication skills - this will be demonstrated through your past education and previous jobs and with age comes experience of different people from all walks of lfe.
Organisational skills - being able to organise a family and co-ordinate their activites is often harder than a degree, then combining this with further education requires amazing organisational skills.
Multi-tasking ability - study, jobs, family and other activities have been successfully juggled.
Determination and stamina - getting used to higher education and the lectures and essays will no doubt require a lot of determination.
Can cope with pressure - once again, such situations are not limited to fields of employment.
Good judgment - experience increases the chances of getting things right.
Can work towards goals - there may be examples of missions accomplished in various fields. Setting yourself the goal of retraining in a different job and then working towards this by heading back to the classroom demonstrates this.
Time management skills - some people, often despite family commitments, manage to cram an amazing amount into their lives.
Commitment - mature graduates have put a great deal into getting to the point where they can apply for jobs in their chosen field.
Wisdom and self-knowledge - this really has to be the fruit of maturity.
Pragmatism and realism - some practical decision-making, as well as belief in the future, will have got the mature graduate this far.
Work on own initiative - many mature students will have had previous employment where they will have had to rely on their own initiative to complete tasks.
Focus on detail - some sub-graduate work illustrates this to excess
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