Dealing With Unemployment When You’re Over 45

May 23rd, 2013 | Posted in , by

If you were born after 1968, please don’t read this.

Many of my friends have worked in the tech sector for decades. Of late, hardly a week goes by without one of them reaching out for a conversation. They want advice on job hunting when you’re… ‘mature’.

To be clear, these are good people with successful careers. Their response to unemployment is consistently simple: find another job. And why not? In the past, they would have been between jobs. But when you’re over 45, the game is different. There’s a lot more rejection, most of it passive and polite. If they’re lucky enough to land an offer, the salary is discounted or the location is bad. Even a new job can be short-lived if you’re last-in and business slows.

So what should you do if you’re on the job market and pushing 50? I don’t have all the answers, but here’s a framework:

1. Start networking with friends and colleagues; set a goal of connecting with one new person daily.

2. Don’t send your resume in response to job postings. Connect with the job owner via email, LinkedIn or telephone.

3. Stop looking for a job; look for opportunities. Short term contracts are ideal. They’re easier to secure.

4. Do not work through a headhunter. Hiring fees are expensive and will deter a company from hiring you.

5. If your employer is offering to pay for outplacement, ask for the money instead. Outplacement is not likely to work for you.

6. Don’t let the job market take your dignity. Plan for the day when you will quit looking for work and re-invent yourself. Heck, why not start reinventing yourself today?

7. Explore your passions. What else could you be doing? A bike shop? Landscaping? Launch a cool website? A bed and breakfast, perhaps?

8. Don’t forget that it’s only half-time. You’ve got plenty of time for a comeback. Don’t let your age dictate what you’ll be when you grow up.

Good luck!

  • egaitken

    Hi Mario This is a great boost. I am reinventing myself. Please look at my new website at and let me know what you think.

    I’m planning to see you at the MaRS event on Selection and the Art of Hiring.