Navigating Ageism In Your Job Search

Mar 05, 2024

"You now have more experience and wisdom than ever before. Age enhances your value."
~ Bonnie Marcus

Hi Audie,

Embarking on a new chapter in your career during your 50s or 60s+ can almost feel like a rite of passage for seasoned corporate professionals. It's a time for reflection, reevaluation and, perhaps, reinvention. If you're considering a job/career change or actively pursuing "what's next" in your career, you're probably wondering:

  • Is ageism real when seeking a new position?
  • What can I do to preempt people thinking I'm too old for the job?
  • How do I highlight my background and experience as a strength without being seen as outdated?

The article that follows addresses these concerns as well effective mindset shifts and proactive strategies you can use to navigate ageism (real or perceived) in your search.



 Navigating Ageism In Your Job Search (aka Transforming "The Elephant In the Room" into a Non-Issue)

If you're a corporate professional in your 50s or 60s+ and are considering or in the midst of a job/career change, there's no doubt you probably feel the elephant in the room: ageism.

While it's not a topic that comes up in interviews, and may often be a silent bias, it's crucial that it doesn't stop you from pursuing a new opportunity that's more rewarding, impactful and re-invigorates you.

With the right mindset and approach, you can turn your years of experience into a compelling narrative of leadership, adaptability and collaborative success. Here's how:


One of my favorite quotes is by Emily Giffen who states "You can only control your actions, not other people's reactions."

Having a resilient mindset and embracing your vast experience as an asset, here are some ways to maintain a healthy perspective and proactively head-off potential age concerns with confidence and grace:

  • Acknowledge Internally, But Don't Dwell On It - It's wise to be aware of ageism's existence without allowing it to dominate your thoughts or job search strategy. Be mindful that while age bias may be a factor, it's one of many in the hiring process. Engage in your search with positivity, focusing on your capabilities and how they align with the needs of potential employers.
  • Exude Confidence, Not Concern - Carry yourself with the assurance that comes from years of experience, success and overcoming professional challenges. Let your narrative be one of enthusiasm about the value you bring. If you believe age could be an unspoke concern, address it head-on with a positive spin. Share examples where your experience was the key to success in past roles or how your seasoned perspective can lead to improved decision-making processes, etc. Your goal is to make it impossible for the interviewer to see your age as anything but a plus!
  • Keep Anxiety At Bay - It's natural to feel anxious about potential biases, but don't let it become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Prepare thoroughly for interviews, anticipate the needs of the employer, and be ready to articulate how your background positions you to meet those needs effectively. Practice mindfulness or stress-reduction techniques if anxiety does creep in, ensuring you present the calmest and most confident version of yourself.

By adopting a resilient and positive mindset, you can transform any hint of ageism into an opportunity to showcase your unique value. Your career journey is rich with success stories of adaptation, innovation and collaboration - make sure these stories take center stage in your job search narrative. With this mindset, you're not just a candidate with years of experience; you're a candidate with an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience, and ready to make a tangible impact on day one.


In the corporate world, experience is a currency of its own, carrying the weight of years spent honing skills, building relationships, and overcoming challenges. Here are some strategies to use to mitigate ageism throughout your search:

  • Embrace Your Experience As An Asset - Think of your professional journey as a showcase of your business acumen. When discussing your background and experience, don't just list roles but tell the story of challenges you've overcome and initiatives you've led that are relevant to the position you're seeking. Position yourself as a mentor who can provide stability and guidance to less experienced team members, fostering a culture of learning within the organization. Remember, your expertise is a roadmap for innovation, meeting/exceeding goals and efficiency.
  • Showcase Learning and Adaptability - In our ever-changing work environment, a commitment to learning and adapting is more valuable than ever. Share anecdotes of how you've embraced change, whether it's mastering a new software platform or pivoting to a remote work setup seamlessly. Make it clear that you are adaptable and have the ability to learn quickly and have a broad context for understanding new information. Your narrative should reflect a lifelong learner's curiosity and a pioneer's boldness in navigating uncharted territories. (NOTE: If this doesn't describe you, don't say this. You never want to misrepresent yourself throughout the interview process.)
  • Highlight Collaboration with Diverse Teams - Your experience working with a wide variety of personalities and functional teams is a treasure trove of success stories! Emphasize instances where your insight has bridged generational gaps, reflect on projects where your perspective added depth to a campaign or strategy, reinforcing the idea that diversity (age included) drives creativity and business success. Use language that celebrates inclusivity and partnership, underscoring your role as a unifier and a collaborative leader.
  • Stay Current with Trends and Jargon - Illustrate your current knowledge by discussing recent industry shifts, using contemporary jargon appropriately, and making predictions based on your experience and understanding of the field. This not only shows you're up-to-date but also that you have a valuable, seasoned perspective on where things are headed.
  • Use Common "Digital Correspondence Methods" - Last, but certainly not least, make sure you're using the most current way of communicating with others. For example, use a professional-sounding or email address for your resume, LinkedIn profile and other aspects of your job search. Having an, or other 'outdated' email service provider can signal that you're older. Similarly, become familiar with and comfortable using text messaging on your smart phone and LinkedIn's private message. When a recruiter or colleague reaches out to you, you'll want to respond using the same technology, and your lack of knowledge in this area may be a tip-off to your age.

In closing, the key to navigating ageism in your job search is not just about mitigating perceived or real biases, but about redefining the narrative around age itself.

Your years bring a depth of knowledge, a wealth of experience and a breadth of skills that are unparalleled. They are proof of the value you bring to the role and company, your adaptability in the face of change, and your ability to lead with wisdom.

Remember: your career is not defined by the years you've accumulated, but by the impact you've made and the value you continue to bring.

Embrace your job/career transition with enthusiasm and confidence, knowing you're providing a legacy of leadership, a commitment to growth and the opportunity to continue making a positive impact.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing."
~ George Bernard Shaw

 Thanks for reading!📖

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To your career success,

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