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Job Hunting After 55: How to Turn Age Into an Advantage

  • Article by:Health Career Center

If you’re a jobseeker age 55 or older, you’re probably in a tough spot right now: You’re not ready to retire, but no one seems to want to hire you either. You’re just overqualified, they keep saying.

What a frustrating thing to hear — how can you be too good at your job to land a job?

As you’re well aware by now, the word “overqualified” can mean many things. Maybe your prospective employer is worried you won’t be satisfied with the salary they plan to offer, or that you’ll think certain tasks are beneath you. In worst-case scenarios, it can even be a thinly veiled cover for age discrimination.

First off, you can take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that long-term unemployment rates (being without a job for 27 weeks or longer) go up with age. In 2014, only 22 percent of people under 25 dealt with long-term unemployment. For people over 55, that number rose to 45 percent.

You’ll be encouraged to know that, though job prospects may not appear to be in your favor, many people your age have still managed to find incredible opportunities. As it turns out, it’s all in your attitude and how you approach it.

Make your age your biggest upside

You can’t do anything about your age, so there’s no sense in worrying about that. Instead, focus on what hiring managers really mean when they express concerns about your experience.

In reality, they may be worried that the job in question will bore you — and that you’ll always be on the lookout for something more challenging. The last thing they want is to hire someone who will jump ship a few months from now.

To debunk this perception, display a high level of enthusiasm during the interview process. Don’t be shy about showing how excited you are to land not just any job, but this job. It’ll go a long way toward putting their fears to rest.

Another approach is assuring your interviewer that you’ve reached a point in your life where a better work/life balance is more important to you than moving up the corporate ladder. (Just be careful not to seem too laid-back, or they may think you won’t try hard at your job.)

Be your own best cheerleader

Regardless of age, everyone encounters failure during the job-hunting process. The most important thing is to stay optimistic.

When hiring managers say you’re overqualified, the worst thing you can do is take their words to heart. Remember: prospective employers pay teams of professionals to find reasons not to consider you for their company. Don’t do their job for them.

If you find yourself feeling discouraged and in need of outside support, can be another source for inspiration. Try reading our helpful articles on landing a new position, review job opportunities on our job board, or create a job alert to have relevant jobs sent directly to you. Even the simple act of applying to a few jobs can give you a sense of progress and help lift your spirits.

Most of all, stay positive. Don’t forget that you’ve beaten difficult odds to land every job you’ve had so far. There’s no reason to start doubting yourself now.

The information in this article originally appeared in Forbes. To read the original article, click here.