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Career Success Strategy for Professionals Over 40

Career Success Strategy for Professionals Over 40

by Abby Locke | CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert

March 01, 2010

Less energy, high health and life insurance costs, higher salary expectations and unwillingness to learn new technology. A recent study released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College indicated many companies have reservations about hiring older workers because of these preconceived notions.

There was a time when age discrimination conjured visual images of men and women nearing the retirement age of 62 and older. However, with the increasing impact of technology advancement, the changing workplace, globalization and economic instability, age discrimination has crept into the lives of working professionals as young as 40. These qualified candidates are finding their job search takes twice as long as their younger counterparts and often they have to settle for a salary decrease or a lower level position.

So if you are over 40 and have been unexpectedly thrust into unemployment, how can you find career success? Overcoming the barriers of age discrimination takes persistence, dedication, a positive attitude and employing this proven strategy.


Your resume plays a vital role in your job search and is one of the primary tools potential employers will use to evaluate your qualifications. While you need to emphasize the breadth of your experience, as an older worker, you want to avoid including information that “ages” you. Here lies the proverbial “catch-22” because if you are targeting senior positions, you need to show an extensive career background, but too much information can make you appear outdated.

Solution A: Encapsulate early experience or positions in a summary paragraph without dates

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EARLY CAREER: Commenced industry experience through positions in materials and inventory management for 84 Lumber Company. At pinnacle of early career, managed up to $8 million in materials and supervised staff of eight. Major achievement included the introduction of new shipping practice which increased product delivery time 10% and simultaneously lowered shipping costs more than 25%.

Here’s another example.

EARLY MILITARY: Experience in technical positions requiring expertise and knowledge in systems engineering, broadband networking, and technology planning. Honorable discharge as Lieutenant Colonel from United States Air Force.

Solution B: Remove the dates from your Education section

For degrees completed more than 20 years ago, remove all dates from the Education. Note: If you completed a college degree recently, (within 10 years) you can include the dates; if you have more than one degree completed at different periods of your life, you either exclude all the dates or include all of the dates for sake of consistency.

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