Tips for Job Seeking Past 40

Updated: Jan 29, 2019


If you have found yourself looking for a new job after a full 20 to 30-year career you may be filled with anxiety and a bit of fear for the journey ahead. You probably have not written a resume in several years. Maybe you wore shoulder pads and feathered bangs to your last job interview. The center of your fear is common; the unknown. However, be encouraged, you are not in a unique situation. Thousands of other job seekers are your age or older. In the job you are applying for dozens of other applicants are your age or older. Be sure to read through the following advice and take notes. The purpose of this article is to encourage you and equip you to face your job hunt head on.  


What is Ageism?


According to the World Health Organization, ageism is “stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age.” It can happen while you are serving in a position or during the application process. It can include getting looked over for promotion, special projects or awards. During the application process a hiring official may look for clues on your resume to indicate your age. They may ask specific questions to try and attain your age, as straight out asking is illegal.


Ageism is only advanced by misconceptions and stereotypes in media and entertainment. It is mainly normalized in society unlike sexism or racism which are vehemently countered. False portrayals in movies for comedy purposes and misinformation in media can cause negative impact. Just like sexism and racism, negative viewpoints are created when people over a certain age are thought of as being all the same.


Maintaining the Population of Working Adults


According to the World Health Organization, over 2 billion people will be over 60 by 2050. This will be double the amount from 2015 which was 12 percent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social security reform policies have been created to maintain a high number of working adults to continue to sustain the non-working adult population. Because of this, the number of working adults will be vastly impacted.


The following are the reformed policies that make this situation more difficult:

  • Reducing benefits for early retirees.

  • Increase of full-retirement age.

  • Taxing social security benefits at lower rates for workers continuing to work while receiving benefits and for those that retire and receive benefits.


While a change needs to be made to account for a changing economy and population, the shift will affect many people. However, as mentioned earlier, if you are seeking a job in your 40s or 50s there is no reason to be discouraged based on your age alone. Due to the changing workforce and economy, more people are continuing to work past the previous retirement age. At my own firm, 50 percent of our clients in 2018 were over 40.


Enter the Job Market Confidently


As a professional resume writer with over seven years of experience, I have seen all kinds of advice given to mature job seekers to hide age. In all honesty, there are tips I advise employing as well. But, before figuring out your LinkedIn photo or chopping years off of your resume, enter the job market confidently. Unlike stereotypes created by ageism and unsavory hiring professionals, being advanced in age does not make you less qualified for a job position. The only thing that can make you less qualified is a lack of qualifications! On the contrary, being advanced in age with a robust work history may make you a wiser, more experienced candidate.


Take Inventory of Your Skills for a Resume


When I am writing a resume for a client I always take a detailed inventory of their marketable skills. I simply go through a series of questions and carry on a conversation with my clients to garner the info I need for their top-notch, professionally written resume. A common reaction to the finished product is, “Wow, I didn’t realize I did all this.”


I love providing the final product because clients are often blown away by their own skills. I do not exaggerate or stretch the truth or lie. I simply take the skills and info that were conversed to me and translate them into clean, concise writing. Seeing your skills and abilities written in front of you can be extremely helpful. Before even working on your resume or handing it off to a professional writer, be sure to take stock of what you have done and what you are capable of.


This is helpful in many ways:

  • Helps shape ideas of what you want to do.

  • Can help decide on a career change.

  • Give you the confidence to apply to the right jobs.

  • Help you understand what you don’t want to do.

It is important to understand, if a company is not going to hire you on first glance due to your age, maybe you don’t want to take on that employment after all. Weeding out applicants due to age is small minded and could point to a workplace riddled with a wealth of other issues.


On the contrary, you want to hired for a position where your skills and abilities will be valued and taken full vantage of. This may mean that you have to look a little harder. It could also mean that your job search might take longer than a younger applicant. But, when done right and with confidence you will find the job that is right for you.


Reach Out for Help


If you need more assistance with your resume or job hunt be sure to give us a call. One of our writers can create a professional, clean resume that markets you and your qualifications effectively. Again, communicating your skillset and career history is a huge step in the process. Not only can the right resume equip you to land the right job, getting started on the right foot is half the battle. Not only can you find help with your resume, our team can get you started and provide valuable advise for your job search. If you need a boost or bit of help, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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