HOW MUCH OF A FACTOR IS YOUR AGE?

Most job hunters in their mid forties and older have more difficulty in their job search than they did earlier in their careers. It’s easy to blame this difficulty on age because of our culture’s negative perceptions about age in the workplace. Although age may add some difficulty, job hunters often overestimate its effect. You can reduce the effect of your age on your job search by dealing with it specifically.
How much age affects your job search depends on whether you seek a traditional position with a company or an alternative career. In a traditional position, age may exert a major or minor effect, depending on the company’s needs, its culture, and your experience.
In an alternative career, age may be less of a factor, and in fact, being older can be an asset.
Unless you’re sure which choice you want, the traditional position or an alternative career, take advantage of your wonderful opportunity by exploring both options. You may see this exploration as only prolonging your job search, but it may, in fact, speed things up—and it may reach a more satisfactory long-term solution. This job search may enable you to “re frame yourself ” into a role much more to your liking at this stage of your life.
If your choice is to seek a traditional position with a company, do you want a large and conservative company or a small and freewheeling one? How age affects this decision depends on the company’s culture, its needs, your experience, and your behavior. Age won’t be a major deterrent if you convince management, particularly your prospective boss, that you’re the best and the safest candidate for the job. Some companies particularly like mid career workers because they’ve “been there” in many situations and know things younger workers just don’t know yet.
Many companies, particularly in the technology fields are dominated, however, by a youth culture. Older job hunters must convince the key people in these companies not only that their skills are state of the art but also that their outlook and behavior will be accepted by other, particularly younger, employees. If you are considering an alternative career, it may be one of the following options:
Consulting
Working for a nonprofit organization, such as a trade association
A traditional job but in a different functional area (e.g., operations instead of finance)
Several part-time jobs
Temping
Starting a business
Buying an existing business
Each of these options has pros and cons that you need to evaluate based on your experience, your financial needs, and the risks you’re willing to take.

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