Concern about Being Too Old to Find a New Job

Anne writes:
As a “mature” woman (57 years of age) being in the position of looking for a
new job what advice can you offer me to sell my diverse skills? I have the
feeling that while I have management training administrator executive
assistant and event planning skills I’m “too old.” My frustration level is
very high right now as is my depression level.

Any advice?

The Career Doctor responds:
Even though one of my students just referred to someone in their
40s as “old” many employers are slowly coming around to
valuing the experience and skills of mature job-seekers. And
you on the leading edge of the eldest baby boomers are blazing
the trail for a complete re-evaluation of opinions and stereotypes
about older workers.
Some of the common mistakes I see with mature job-seekers are the following:

  • Job Search. You must be open to all avenues of job-searching.
    Of course your network will still be vital but since many of your
    contemporaries may be retiring you’ll need to build a new younger
    base to your network.

  • Resumes. Highlight only recent experience say the last 15 years
    or so. Remove dates from older educational
    degrees/certifications. Use a contemporary style and follow current
    rules of resume-writing. Certainly someone with your varied experiences
    needs to include a summary of qualifications section to sum up your top
    three or four key attributes.

  • Cover Letters. The biggest mistake I see in cover letters written by
    mature workers is an undertone of superiority because of your vast work
    experience. One of the myths about older workers is that they are
    inflexible — that they know it all — and you must walk the fine line of
    showcasing your varied accomplishments without sounding rigid or

  • Interviewing. Since you’ll most likely be older than the interviewer –
    in some cases much older — your key is to not intimidate him or her.
    You’ll also want to showcase your adaptability and knowledge of current
    trends and technology.

Learn much more about strategies for mature workers in this section
of Quintessential Careers: Job
and Career Resources for Mature and Older Job-Seekers — Including the Baby Boomers
800-652-8430 Mon- Fri 8am - 8pm CST
Sat 8am - 5pm CST, Sun 10am - 6pm CST