So, I'm in my early 40s and I've recently finished my undergraduate degree in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics. I achieved this while working a full-time job for a major tech company. I wonder if my age will affect my marketability or hiring potential. I should mention that I don't look anywhere near my age because I am very physically fit and have a youthful face and demeanor as well. Background wise, my credit is good and past is clean. I will gladly stay with my current employer if a new opportunity becomes available, but will also be scouring the job market for other opportunities - Actuarial science is an interest of mine. I wonder though, will I be scrutinized due to my age and overlooked for a much younger applicant? Are there any advantages to being a more mature applicant that I should be using during the interviewing process?


I live in NYC where city, state and Federal law prohibit discriminatiom on the basis of age, so an argument that you make in your favor on the basis of age is not likely to be well received there. If you can argue experience including life experience, fine. If you can argue skills, fine. If you can argue education, fine.

If you argue age and you argue age with interviewers who are younger than you, they might not take to your argument well. especially if age is the only argument you can come up with. I am older than you and unlike you, I look like crap, but I wouldn't take your age argument well. I have seen smart young ones and old idiots and I'd rather not work with idiots no matter what their age is - The smart ones give me enough trouble keeping me honest, as it is :)

What I'd like you to do is come across as smart, fit, fast and capable - and single handedly bust a couple of stereotypes about age as you go through the interview process.

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    city, state and Federal law prohibit discriminatiom on the basis of age - That's adorable. Age is still an enormous hurdle to overcome in the US. There will always be some argument around it though. It seems in my area that the discrimination age is somewhere in the 50's. I know a LOT of people it has happened to. – Joel Etherton Mar 26 '15 at 19:00
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    Being scrutinized and being "discriminated against" have a legal difference. Obviously they won't say "Nope, you're too old dude!" – Brandin Mar 26 '15 at 19:00
  • @Brandin They're not that stupid :) – Vietnhi Phuvan Mar 26 '15 at 19:04

Congratulations on finishing your degree!

In your 30's and 40's, interviewers will likely be expecting some level of relevant experience in your work history. If the jobs you're looking for in the future have nothing to do with what you've done in the past, the interviewers are going to have an internal struggle: "Mature, experienced person says they're willing to take an entry-level position" versus "Mature, experienced person expects to jump career tracks and not lose any position/status."

To counter this dilemma, you will want to show how your work experience plus your recent education make you special. The usual interviewing advice applies here: Be sure you research the company and have some ideas about how you might fit there.

In your 40's, you're not quite too old to hire, but you're getting close. Lots of companies value some gray hairs (so to speak). You just want to make sure you bring something special to their company.


Age Discrimination

Age discrimination is a real thing and a problem for older people in the work force, luckily though it doesn't start to real show until your 50s and later. Basically I tend to only see people discriminated for their age when you're nearing retirement ages. (because they figure you'll put in a few years then retire)

Discriminating Companies

That said companies who try to snag kids fresh out of college on the cheap WILL likely discriminate based on age. Not because you're old perse, they are trying to get their work force as cheap. The normal strat here is to snag fresh college grads who have minimal experience, while you are a fresh undergrad, you probably some kind of experience you can bring to the table, so you wouldn't be passed because you're in your 40s rather you're over credentialed.

Personal Advice

Play to the benefits of being older. When you're interviewing don't try and come across as the kid ready to take on the world, odds are you've already made those choices, had them implode, and learned from it. You've matured and won't make the careless business mistake every fresh out of school kid makes, the over ambitious project, etc.

It's a really good sale in regards to a know hire to get someone mature with a basic understanding of "business as normal" someone who will try to align and work with the team rather not be abrasive in some righteous belief they know better then their more experienced peers.

You'll do fine

All that said you'll do fine.

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