Is It Harder to Find a Job After 40? - Saint Paul,MN

Updated on September 22, 2011
M.T. asks from Saint Paul, MN
8 answers

I'm in my early 40s. The last time I looked for a job was 3 years ago, just at the beginning of the recession, and when I was still in my 30s. I was not too excited about the job, but I thought I should take it, I can always look for a new job. A kid and three years later (to clarify - I have kept my job from three years ago, but it is just not a good match for me as I expected from the beginning and need a change), I have begun to look for a new job for real. I feel it's much harder to find one (haven't even gotten an interview), and sure, it probably has to do with the recession too, but I'm also finding that I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable with my qualifications (what I have done in my professional life - or that I don't have much to show for it). I have a graduate degree, and I have worked in a few, so-called "non-managerial professional" jobs without moving up in an organization (i.e., always staying at "non-managerial") - when I was in my 30s and just a few years out of graduate school, it may have been OK, but I'm wondering, now with many years after graduate school and my age, it's starting to count against me.

Have any of you felt this way? Maybe in your 40s, it's getting harder to get a job, unless you're really accomplished? Although I think it's OK for me to get another job at my current level, even the jobs at the same level as my current job don't want to hire me, because I don't have a history of moving up/accomplishments?

Getting a bit discouraged. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Hi, thank you all for your encouragements! I will keep trying. Good info that I should not put the year of graduation on my resume. It is nice to hear stories of you (and those that you know) that got the best job in their careers past 40. I also decided to have my resume/coverletter reviewed by careers service at my school that also serves alumini's.

More Answers



answers from San Francisco on

I'm 49 and was surprised so learn that there is a great deal of bias if you've been out of the work force for a period of time. I was in non-profit for 10 years and had risen to management level in a small non-profit. I left work for 10 years to raise my daughters. On a whim I decided to apply for a job with a Catholic school in their development office - doing database management - a job similar to what I had done during the middle of my career. I did not even get an interview. I eventually got a job with a former boss who knew and trusted my work and she is delighted with me. I've been working for 3 months and I was definitely behind in some of the software knowledge but I've gotten training and I feel almost completely up to speed and fairly confident that I bring a lot of experience and knowledge to the position despite being out of the workforce for a long time.

Recently, however, I heard a discussion on the radio about employers being reticent to hire people who are unemployed or those who have been unemployed for a while. In fact, a couple employers called the radio and said outright that they would not even interview someone who was unemployed. That shocked me! For you, I doubt it's your age but more than likely the fact that you have been out of work. In my situation, my current job is NOT at the same level as when I left my career - I am an assistant to a woman who is 20 years younger than me and has less experience than me. But I realized that I needed current experience and that's what I'm getting. Good-luck.

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answers from New York on

You might need to re-work your resume a bit, or tailor your resume to specific positions. Though you feel you don't have many work accomplishments, try to list ways you helped your employers in previous positions - maybe where you cut costs or increased efficiency or improved revenues. Even just helping out in customer service. Companies are looking for people who can help improve the bottom line.

Highlight your computer skills and programs you have used on the job - you want to make sure you come off as highly computer literate. In terms of your time off, I would be honest and list that you were a stay-at-home mom during that time period - it looks better than just an unexplained gap in employment. Also, and this may sound counter-intuitive, I would downplay your graduate degree. List it under your education but don't play it up. Employers really aren't that interested in your education beyond seeing that you have at least a B.A. or B.S. Sometimes a higher degree can be a turnoff unless it is required for a specific position.

I know you've heard it a hundred times, but network, network, network. Tell everyone you encounter that you are looking for a new job. You are much more likely to land a job through an acquaintance than through these resume sites.

Don't worry about your age - 40 is the new 30, don't you know? :) When you land that interview, go in a suit and look very polished and confident. Don't worry so much about your past qualifications - what can you offer to an employer now? Show enthusiasm and do a little research on the company so you are prepared. And don't worry about maybe starting a little lower than your current level - sometimes you just need to start over to move up.

Best of luck - you can do it!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

I found the absolute best position of my career at 44 (in April) in eight weeks and had lots of quality sales positions to choose from). I truly don't think they would have considered someone half my age for a testing specialist position for a national lab, it was a huge step up from my last position in sales (at the time I thought that was great as well). I don't even put dates of graduation on my resume, my career advisor told me not to. Get some help revising it, it couldn't hurt.

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answers from Los Angeles on

No, you're not too old...just tough times right now. My sister went through the same thing and FINALLY got a job that she was overqualified for. I wanted to assure you that you are not expected to have an accomplished position because you have a graduate degree. Non managerial workers play a very important role, and to have one with a graduate degree would be awesome. Are you okay with the fact that you haven't moved up? A lot of people are fine with it and it is very suiting for their personality type. You're probably a very even tempered mild mannered person that doesn't get caught up in work politics, which makes you better already :)
With LOTS of effort, something else will come along!

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answers from Norfolk on

I think it's just hard for everyone to get a job right now.
There are pluses and minuses for every age.
Too young might mean less experience/education/degrees, but then they are likely to work for less and have potential for growth.
Too old means lots of experience/education/degrees, but then some may say you are over qualified and not want to pay what they (or you) think you are worth (although many will work for anything these days).
Some companies have reputations for dumping older employees because it costs less than dealing with retirement issues (and older workers will make use of sick leave where younger tend to have fewer health issues).
Some companies are training mills - they take them young right out of college and only plan to keep them a very few years.
Some like older workers because they are past child bearing and maternity leave is a pain (as far as the company is concerned).
It doesn't really matter what the reasons/excuses are - you have to keep believing and pushing why it's in the company s best interest to hire you.
You are a great worker!
You make any company you work for look good!
You have to be your own cheerleader!
Hang in there and try not to get discouraged.

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answers from Dallas on

Don't be discouraged. I don't think it has to do with recession or your age. I am in TX and the recession has not hit here like it has in some areas. We are in the manufacturing end of busniess and it is booming.

Employers are looking for a good fit and someone long term.

I have a friend in consulting and she has to "sell" certain products to businesses. SO, for her research, she made a plan to apply for 2 jobs a day to see what happens. She has been called in to 4 interviews, 1 of which is a better opportunity than she is currently in.

It takes persistance, followup and knowing where to look.

We own our own company. We are listed on LinkedIn to network with other professionals in our industry (raw materials). However, I get emails almost daily with resumes. Some of those people are very interesting and I have held the resume for the near future if we decide to expand.

Get out there, network, hold you head up, you know you strengths, push them.

Good luck

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answers from Los Angeles on

It wasn't easy to find a job in Bush's recession. Its hard to find a job in Obama's depression. But its much easier to find a job if you are currently employed. Help wanted ads are being written with "Only currently employed need apply".

Over early 40's isn't easy, but not a big deal. Almost 50 and over 50's is very difficult. Over 60 is almost impossible.

Not moving up in an organization unless you are applying for a very upwardly mobile position. Looking for a full time job is a full time job.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from Redding on

The times are just tough right now. Being 40 is a very good age actually. I believe lots of employers feel secure hiring a more mature person. Have someone help you with a resume, sell yourself with words. I was 48 when I got the job I'm doing now. My boss was glad to see someone mature walk in for the interview.

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