Unfortunately, age discrimination is alive and well in many organizations. Coupled with the fact that more and more workers in their 40s and 50s are in the job market because of layoffs, reorgs, and buyouts, age discrimination is a factor that many of us will encounter at some point when searching for a job.

However, the outlook doesn’t have to be bleak if you are in your 40s and 50s. There are many things you can do to navigate your way past age discrimination and still land the job you deserve.

Here are five tips that might help you:

  1. Don’t Date Yourself. Keep dates and years out of your cover letter, resume, interview, and your thoughts. In your resume, use your job experience for the last 10-15 years; leave out what you did 25 years ago. And, don’t include old dates with your degrees, awards, and certifications.
  2. Focus on Today. In your cover letter, and especially during your interview, stress what you can do for their company today. Don’t continually refer to your vast years of experience. And, don’t expect to have an advantage just because you might be the most qualified person for the job. The old rules don’t apply today.
  3. Get Technical. It’s important to show your potential employer that you are computer literate, and not just an old dinosaur. If it’s applicable, stress your comfort level and competency with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or your use of a laptop, BlackBerry, etc.
  4. Find Age-Friendly Companies. Some organizations emphasize their commitment to being family-friendly, diversity-friendly, age-friendly. You can find some of them in newspaper and magazine articles about the best places to work, and at www.aarp.org/careers and http://www.retirementjobs.com/.
  5. Look the Part. One thing you don’t want to do for an interview is to look old, frumpy, sloppy, or tired. If you want to be hired, you have to act, look, and dress the part. So, stay in shape, sleep well, look trim, dress sharply but professionally, be alert, smile, relax, and make sure your responses are precise, direct, to the point, and definitely not long-winded.


If you follow these tips, you will appear to be a potential employee who is still sharp, vigorous, and poised to step right in and do a great job.