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Searching for a job at the age of 40

We all know that recruiters have no actual rights to limit applicants’ gender or age. But we also know that there is a real problem in searching a job when you’re elder than 40. How can candidates deal with it. Especially when it comes to some creative spheres of business like event industry?


We are used to working with young and talented PR and sales managers, marketing and IT specialists, designers and event planners. We feel that it’s something natural and granted that these people will demonstrate great activity, high adaptability and sometimes even aggressiveness. Not everyone is capable of it after 40. It is somehow a tradition, a historical reality that elder people work in fields that require years of experience (doctors, accountants, manufacturers and so on). So that’s why we get surprised when applicants 40+ search for a job in creative industries. And many of them fail.

These are the main reasons why HR-managers hesitate to offer them a job:

  • • lack of necessary computer literacy and inability to keep up with the constantly improving technologies;
  • • lack of activity (elder people are less accustomed to act aggressively);
  • • lack of formal education: normally a common base without the training and any updates;
  • • lack of mental flexibility (it is easier to train a young employee);
  • • unwillingness to work irregular hours;
  • • a passive position in life (most of people 40+ do have some achievements in life and career, so they prefer just to do the necessary minimum).

For being successful in job search after 40 years old you should be ready to disprove all of those statements.

Choose carefully. Most of the recruiters (or actually all of them) point out that they need candidates under 35. But you should better skip that item. First and foremost you need to find out what do employers really want from the applicant. And if you see that this very job is for the beginners – let it be. But if you see that knowledge and experience are the priority – why shouldn’t you try yourself?

Get ready to fight and win. Emotional attitude is the first key to success. If you don’t feel like working in events or other creative industries just don’t lie to yourself. Choose something quiet and stable. There are many types of job positions where elder people are welcomed – librarians, translators, teachers, nurses and many more. But if you are up to that challenge then do not let even the smallest thought that your initiatives may fail. There is nothing impossible to a person who is striving hard towards the goal. Remember that the reasons why a job search might take a while can appear at any age: young candidates without experience have the similar problems, and so do the specialists with small children, etc. Your trump card is the professionalism. And if you believe in yourself, then your age with all the experience, and calmness, and strategical mindset, and stable family can easily turn into a plus.

Do not settle for less. It’s a normal story when too desperate job seekers accept a small salary or an inconspicuous position. They feel like time is going and they are often afraid that they won’t find the better proposal. But that story must not be normal at all! You’ve been working already for a long time. You have huge experience. You are wise enough to manage people. You can see the bigger picture that the young employees. So why would you settle for the less? Just remember the presidency: that’s where the age can play a crucial positive role. So you have all the rights to claim for the best! So don’t be afraid to send a resume to a leadership position. Employers understand that the energy and creativity of youth should be directed in the right way, and this requires a person with life and professional experience, attentiveness and organizational skills.

Look for a niche. Try to find out your best features which can be useful in different areas, think for such knowledge and experience which my interest employers from other business spheres (not so usual for you). Maybe you can use your engineering knowledge in events or your creativity in industrial companies. 

Be proactive. Many employers think that most of candidates 40+ just look for a place to sit out until retirement. So you must contradict it. During the interview you should ask many questions and maybe even give some thoughts on your possible contribution to company’s development. Collect information about the company and prepare the questions in advance: this will emphasize your proactive stance.

Prepare to new forms of interview. Times are changing. So do the interview methods. Be prepared for the unexpected turns of conversation, with many companies practicing stress interview by asking you weird questions or behaving strangely: this is done just to test your reaction and sense of humor. In a conversation about the negative qualities appropriate to mention perfectionism.

Never stop learning. Planning the search for a new job, update your education: you need to be aware of the current trends. You have plenty of time during the job search process to visit some courses or seminars.

Be technically savvy. Show your recruiters that you know and love gadgets, social networks, different apps and soft. First of all use them for your job search!

Use all the sources. Don’t be shy to ask everyone you know for a help.

Show your status. Appearance is always a key. But an elder person has a better sense of style, some formal gloss – all the clothing, classic cut, delicate accessories. But you should look also youthful and energetic. Your appearance must show that at this place you are going not to survive until retirement, but to work actively, benefiting yourself and the company. The detail that's required – clean shoes.

And of course you should update your resume. So here are some useful tips to note:

  • Review your CV and get rid of excessive workload information. Yes, it’s been a long career trip. And you have much to tell about all of your jobs. But still you have to focus on advantages which are relevant in modern society. If you want to show the diversity of your experience, divide information into functional categories: "administrative activity", "creativity", "department management", "innovations", etc.
  • Be sure to include all the latest courses and seminars. Not only because basic education is not enough now. It will show that you are developing and keeping pace with the times.
  • In the column of additional information you should write more about your functionally important characteristics (sports, travelling, time management – that will show your activeness and physical well being).
  • You can try a little trick: do not specify your age. If your resume will satisfy everyone and you will be invited for an interview – that will be a perfect chance to prove that age means nothing while working with professional. Here's what you definitely shouldn't make is to reduce your age in your CV. Sooner or later the deception will be exposed and the consequences can be negative.


Remember that people perceive you, how you yourself feel. Go to the interview with the mood of the winner and the result will surprise you!