Neal Frankle
Neal Frankle
Help Clients Over 40 Find a Job Fast

You could provide a very valuable service by helping your out-of-work clients get on the right path.

December 17, 2009
by Neal Frankle, CFP

I encountered this problem recently.

Like many people, Sherri, a client of mine, just lost her job. She worked at a major bank in Los Angeles for over 15 years and had a stellar record.

But the bank didn’t have a stellar record.

They had to lay off over 400 people and Sherri was one of them. She wanted to work and needed to find a job but she had two major concerns:

  1. The overall job market. With over 10 percent unemployment and real challenges in the financial sector, she was afraid it may be difficult to land a job.
  2. No spring chicken. She was concerned about age discrimination.

Here are my thoughts and suggestions:

  1. Age Discrimination Exists

    It stinks. It’s unfair. But it’s true.

    Even though the age discrimination in employment act prohibits bias against workers over age 40, it’s easy for companies to filter out older applicants. Sherri’s profession is full of younger people and her job really doesn’t require years of experience.

    For those two reasons, she’s going to run into age discrimination issues and she might as well be prepared. Since older applicants are often discarded at the résumé-review stage, her first step is to carefully reword her résumé and not use outdated industry terminology.

    And when she gets a job interview, she might run into a snooty HR kid who tells her she’s overqualified. Sherri has to anticipate questions that touch on her age and be able to overcome those objections.

    People in their 40s and 50s are more seasoned, often approach work more professionally and have fewer distractions. These are good things.

    But let’s get real here. Even the most hip résumé on the planet won’t land Sherri a job. Résumé’s lead to very few interviews and even fewer job offers.

    She’s going to have to be proactive if she wants to find work.

  2. Honest Assessment

    On the one hand, Sherri’s experience is in the financial industry. She’ll add the most value to her employer in that industry and that’s where she’ll probably make the most money.

    On the other hand, that industry is in financial turmoil right now.

    Is it reasonable for Sherri to expect to find a job in her industry? I don’t know. She’s going to have to be the judge of that and it’s a very tricky question. (I know that if Sherri was an unemployed newspaper printer, I’d suggest she look into a different industry.)

  3. Tech Training

    Now would be a great time to take short-term courses to get her technical skills up to cutting-edge level. Sherri needs to master Excel, PowerPoint and even Twitter. If she can demonstrate mastery in these areas, it can go a long way towards overcoming age discrimination.

    But training isn’t enough.

    As an employer, I don’t want someone to just tell me they’ve taken a class on a particular subject. I want Sherri to convince me that she has it down cold. Before the interview, I want Sherri to think about how I would use these technologies and prove that she’s already a master at doing exactly what I need her to do.

  4. Be Flexible

    These days, a lot of companies hire temps before they take the plunge and bring a person on full-time. Sherri has to be ready, willing and able to accept those offers. She might even want to call companies she is targeting cold and offer to work as a temp for them as a way to get in the door. If she does this, it will save the company a huge amount of money and it will demonstrate her ability to be proactive. Nice!

  5. Pretend to Be Older

    The over-50 crowd (that includes me) developed fantastic resources to help find work. She should plug into that if possible.


    Well … if she finds a company looking to hire folks in their 50s do you think they might consider a young wet-behind-the-ears 41-year-old? I do.

    Here are a few resources that people over 50 use to find jobs:

  6. Get Out There

    A job offer isn’t going to magically appear in Sherri’s inbox. And her résumé, while an important support document, probably isn’t going to land her a job either.

    She has to get out there and network.


I wrote an extensive piece on this topic last month. Sherri should focus 100 percent on getting “information” interviews. Her goal should be two such interviews a day. Odds are good that if she does that, she’ll find a job within two months.

Have your client had to deal with issues like these? What advice would you give Sherri?

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Neal Frankle, CFP, is the author of Why Smart People Lose a Fortune: 5 Steps to Restoring Your Wealth and Sanity.

The material in this article is general information and not meant to provide specific investment, tax or legal advice. Investing in the stock market involves risk.