Older Person Trying to Re-enter Job Market

I am a Registered Nurse and am trying to enter employment as an entry level RN. However, I waited until I raised my children and they finished college to begin my path. Now I am worried that employers will pass me over for younger entry level applicants.

How do I provide information that things like maturity and life in general (not that younger applicants don't have this as well!) would help me in obtaining an interview? I have been on interviews but I get the feeling I am being scrutinized on my obvious 'older than 18' age and I want that to not be a deterrent.

Do you have any suggestions on applying and interviewing for the older population? Also, my previous working experience was not in the medical field so I'm wondering if that is a factor as well.

Thank you!


Unless the employer did or said something specific that resembles age discrimination, I encourage you not to assume that your age is a problem. Did the interviewer mention your age? Did he/she say something about your experience being outdated? If not, I would look at other factors.

Most employers are simply looking for the most qualified person for the position, regardless of age. If a company does discriminate because of your age, it is probably not a good company to work for anyway. Consider yourself lucky that they did not hire you.

The workforce needs employees of all ages.

Here are some tips that you can use to age-proof your resume.

• Date your resume back 10-15 years. If you have experience or skills from 20 years ago that are related to the RN position, tie that information into your career summary without dates.

• It is not necessary to list every single job that you have had since high school, especially unrelated jobs. Instead, narrow your resume down to the most relevant experience that makes you qualified for the RN position.

• Avoid statements like "30 years experience." Focus your resume on specific qualifications and accomplishments, rather than the number of years of experience. 10 years of solid experience can be just as valuable as 30 years, if you highlight specific accomplishments and results. Draw attention to the actual experience, not the number of years.

• If you received a diploma, degree, or certification over 15 years ago, it is not necessary to include the date that you receive it. The important thing is that you received it.

• Mention any up-to-date technology that you are experienced with. If you are not up-to-date on the latest technology, spend some time familiarizing yourself with it.

During the interview

• Express your passion for the RN position and how you can make a difference in this type of work.

• Tell the interviewer why you are the best RN for the job (skills, experience, passion , education, volunteer work, personality, etc.)

• Don't make reference to your age. Phrases like "I am older," or "I am not as young as..." may reflect a lack of confidence or sound like you are ashamed of your age. Be proud! Your age does not make you less qualified or less marketable, unless you believe it and speak it.

• Think of your maturity as an advantage. Mature people tend to have wisdom, common sense, solid work experience, and can share knowledge with others. Express how you can use this in the job.

• Talk about up-to-date technology like social networking (LinkedIn), Microsoft Office, computers, smartphones, and tablets, if the opportunity presents itself. If you are not up-to-date, start using technology until you become familiar and comfortable with it.


The fact that your previous experience is not in the medical field could definitely effect your not being selected for a position. This is likely more of a concern than your age.

In your resume and during the interview, you will need to highlight your qualifications and emphasize your strengths that relate to the position. If you have limited experience, use transferable skills to show how your previous experience and skills can be used in the RN position.

My advice is to keep looking for positions and keep applying. The more jobs you apply for, the more likely you will find the one that is a good match for you.

Victoria E.

P.S. If you would like to send your resume to Victoria@simple-resume-writing-instructions.com, I'd be happy to review it for any "red flags."

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