Tips For the Over 40 Job Seekers

Nancy Anderson
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Don't let worries about age discrimination get in the way of moving forward with your job search. If you're a job seeker over 40, the fastest path to success is keeping your determination strong and working hard to put your best self out there. Take a look at these tips for older job seekers to help you find a great position.

Don't Hide Your Age

You may be tempted to try to hide your age by leaving out portions of your job history, taking dates off your resume or simply acting the way you think younger applicants do. Unfortunately, any attempt of subterfuge on your part may backfire, leading to distrust. Maintain your integrity by portraying your experience and background honestly. Show your maturity to be an asset and remember that age discrimination laws exist to help protect your rights as an older job applicant.

Focus on Your Experience

Your biggest selling point as an older job seeker is your more extensive experience when compared to younger applicants. Take some time to reflect on how your work experience has better prepared you for future roles. Are you a quick problem solver? Have you developed great people skills? Do younger workers frequently come to you for advice or help? When writing your resume, focus on how the breadth and depth of your experience prepares you for facing complex work situations with skill and wisdom.

Stay Up to Date

Although you don't want to lie about your age, you also don't want to appear too old fashioned. Update your look with a new haircut and a few new pieces for your professional wardrobe. Make sure your tech skills are up to date and start using your social media accounts to show you are part of the digital age. Take a good look at your resume and other job-hunt materials, making sure they meet modern standards for professional fonts and design.

Challenge Possible Age Discrimination

Although it is hard to prove age discrimination, it is easy to recognize phrases that might signal it. If your interviewer says that the company prefers workers who are enthusiastic and energetic, share examples of your own enthusiasm for the position and how your career energizes you to do your best for the company. Other questions that could signify covert age discrimination include asking if you think the position is challenging enough for you or asking how you feel about working with coworkers who are fresh out of school. Regardless of the questions, respond by sharing your strengths, especially those strengths that come with more years in the workforce. Focus on your flexibility, competency and strong grasp of the issues faced by your industry.

A job search when you're over 40 brings its own unique hurdles, but the right attitude, a modern resume and a little reflection on your worth in your field get you ready to take those hurdles in stride. Spend some time updating you look, get active on the internet, and be prepared to handle any questions that come from the perspective of age discrimination. Most importantly, let your confidence shine to help you succeed.

Photo courtesy of Rudin Group at


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Paul R thanks for your comment. So sorry that happened. Did they just hang up? Wasn't a company that you would want to work for if they treat prospective employees that way. The next time, however, do some homework. Check the company out. See if you can find out the makeup of the company such as - are they mostly millennials? If so, then being an older person, you wouldn't be a good fit. Look for a company that is diversified. All the best.

  • Paul R.
    Paul R.

    Several companies that I recently spoke to physically and on the web, had agreed with me that I fit the position totally. After they ask me for grad. year, and I answered, they broke off.

  • Kurt W.
    Kurt W.

    Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future.
    Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy. Success lies in the ability to rise in the face of failure, and you can’t do this when you’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.
    When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.
    Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress, which hinders performance.
    When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance.
    Ignore the foolish HR types, they won't appreciate others until they have their own life crisis and start counting their blessings.
    When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don't let anyone’s opinions or accomplishments take that away from you.
    No matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within. Regardless of what people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain—you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.
    Now get out there, and feel the joy of working where you're appreciated. I wish many blessings to come for all who understand my message. :)

  • Maduagwu V.
    Maduagwu V.

    Thank you very much for this wonderful article. It's encouraging and it gives hope for job seekers

  • Kevin P.
    Kevin P.

    HR People are the worst for Age Discrimination. the term "fit" is know popular amongst HR people. Even some Safety people are part of the fit crew

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