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On this page: Dr. Jan Cannon helps you recognize age discrimination in your job search and offers tactics for handling it.

Handling Age Discrimination in Your Mid-Life Job Search

There is sometimes a bias against both older and younger workers. If you run into some of the following situations, you may be experiencing this "ageism."

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It's against the law to ask questions about age in an interview, but more subtle signs of ageism can creep into the verbal exchange.

Some potential employers may see you as too expensive. Or that your experience will be a hindrance rather than an asset. They may believe your work style will be a carryover from your previous positions rather than learning their approach.

Whatever the reason, interviewers may say you're overqualified. That could be shorthand for too old, but legally an OK response.

Proactive Tactics

If you feel that you're not being considered for a job because you're too old or too expensive, here are some proactive tactics to dispel the employer's fears.

There is a job out there where your experience and skills will be valued. It may take longer to find that job, but it's worth the wait.

You don't want to be looking for a new job again in a few years (or less) because you encouraged them to consider you when it wasn't really a good fit.

Remind yourself that you are not defined by your job. It's what you do, not who you are. And you want to do your best in a job that's right for you and the employer.

For More Information About Age Discrimination

About this author...

Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt's Mid-Life Career Expert, is author of Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career, Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success, Finding a Job in a Slow Economy, co-author of Exceptional Accomplishment, and a career professional for 20 years. Visit her website,, and circle Jan on Google+ for more career advice and help.