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Herzing Staff

Overcoming Ageism in Your Job Search

There is no traditional timeline for starting a job you love. You are just as capable and deserving of a successful career, regardless of age.

Over half of job seekers aged 40+, 51%, have said that their age was a hurdle in finding a new position. Known as ageism, laws do exist to prohibit holding someone’s age against them in the workplace, but it can still be daunting to begin a job search when you feel you’re above the average applicant's age. There is no traditional timeline for starting a job you love — that’s one thing that has led so many Herzing students to return to school! You are just as capable and deserving of a successful career, regardless of age.

Here are a few ways to ensure that your age is just a number when searching for your next job.

Revamp Your Resume

Before jumping into a pool of qualified applicants, job seekers should first update their resumes. Ensure your resume stands out so you can secure more interviews and get one step closer to your dream job. Update your resume with any experience that you didn’t have during your last job search. Keep your resume concise, yet thorough, so you’re not selling yourself short. When you submit a high-quality resume, you’re putting your best foot forward.

Be Intentional with Your Applications

Once your resume is ready to impress, ask yourself what’s most important to you in an employer. You deserve to be a part of an accepting culture that doesn’t view age as an obstacle, but rather as a benefit. It can be tempting to apply to as many positions as possible, but you should prioritize quality over quantity. The caliber of companies you apply to could make a difference in your job search experience and ultimately your career.

Watch Out for Interview Red Flags

Prospective employers are prohibited by federal and state laws from asking certain non-job-related questions, including certain questions about age. In the same way that you prep for an interview by researching probable interview questions, you should familiarize yourself with the questions that aren’t relevant. If your interviewer does ask a prohibited question related to your age, not only does it break The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, it exhibits poor taste and behavior from the potential employer. By having a clear understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate, you’ll avoid selecting offers from organizations built on a bad foundation.

Make Your Interview Count

Once your ramped-up resume has caught the attention of a hiring manager, it’s time to get into interview mode. This is your best chance to showcase your professional and personal skills. Strong resumes are good, but strong interviews make the greatest difference to hiring managers when selecting applicants. Interviews are also a chance to get a better idea of what a career at a certain company would look like. Never hesitate to ask questions you may have about the job responsibilities and company values. 

Be Confident

While the job search process may be intimidating, remain confident that you’re working toward your dream job. Don’t let any stigmas against mature jobseekers deter you from applying for a position you would love. Being an adult learner makes you an even more desirable candidate. You’ve acquired valuable experience and insight over the years, and companies can benefit from your expertise. Remember, with your background, drive, and determination, you’ll be a valuable asset to any team.

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* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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