It’s hard to say whether job hunting becomes objectively more difficult as we get older or how much our thoughts and feelings about our job searches enter the picture. Certainly age discrimination is real. I’ve lost count of the mature job seekers who have told me that the minute they walked in the door a much younger interviewer’s face fell, as if to signify, “Oh no, you’re much older than I thought you would be.”
We can’t be surprised that in organizations full of very young folks, an older newcomer might unsettle people at the very least. Not many of us have been taught or coached in inter-generational communication. If people are naturally comfortable with folks who share a lot of attributes with them, we can’t pretend to be shocked that it might be harder to get a job in a company full of Gen X and Millennial people as we get older.
However, as an over-fifty job seeker you have strengths you may not even be aware of. You have your work experience, of course, but you have much more than that. Age brings wisdom, but only when we feel it. You have life experience and the adaptability that comes from facing and surmounting adversity over and over through the years.
The key to your job search after age fifty is your belief in your ability to solve a hiring manager’s pain. All managers have problems. They hire someone to fill a spot and perform certain duties, but more than that they hire someone to handle things and keep problems from cropping up. The more you get in touch with the problems you can solve for your next manager, the more confident you will be on the job search trail.