Older interns need soft skills to comfortably land a new job

Emma De Vita:

More older people are finding themselves facing a change of career later in their working lives, and some may choose to intern to help them move into a new role. They must handle their unusual amount of career experience tactfully if they want to ensure things go smoothly with a much younger boss and colleagues.

There are challenges for interns over the age of 40, says Ben Lyons, co-founder of Intern Aware.

“Managers may feel uncomfortable about hiring someone older than them,” he says. The number of older interns has been growing, he adds, because people are working for longer and are having to pick up new skills to enter new industries.

However, older people might be put off from applying because the role tends to be associated with students or people in their 20s, he adds. While interns may be expected to do tasks that might be seen as menial — administration or making tea — he says that interns are increasingly expected to do work that has real business value.

Mr Lyons’ advice to older interns is for them to explain to their new boss that they are keen to learn and that they want to understand the industry that they are making a transition into.