Career Advice

How Older Workers Can Overcome Job Search Depression

In 2021, 3 million Americans (age 55 and over) had been out of a job since the pandemic. While one may think a simple fix is dishing out more resumes, the reality is that employment rejection and age discrimination can have a significant impact on the mental and emotional health of older job seekers. Though, at any rate, there are ways for older workers to rebuild their lives during the pandemic and overcome job search depression.


Understanding the Job Market Right Now

It’s easy to get discouraged when searching for a job, and many people can take the rejection personally. Although, with every frustrating moment along the way, older workers should show themselves grace. Take the pressure off yourself by understanding the state of the job market right now. It’s not all in your head, and it certainly isn’t you.

During the pandemic, many older workers have been forced out of jobs and into an early retirement, prematurely living off their retirement assets. Those still on the job hunt, however, are experiencing rejection from employers looking to hire younger applicants. Younger workers entering the job force have lower salary expectations due to their fewer years of experience, and have the tech competency that requires less on-the-job training.

Expectedly, depression becomes a new reality for these older workers facing job search ageism. More and more, older workers are seen as dispensable in the workforce, making the job hunt all the more difficult. Non-white older workers can experience twice as much rejection in their job search due to racial discrimination. So, how do these older workers overcome job search depression in today’s market? It begins with grace, understanding, and patience.


Learning the Hard Skills

Older workers experiencing job search depression should understand one thing: this isn’t the end. In this competitive job market, having the right soft and hard skills can give you the boost you need to secure a job. While many older workers already have the soft skills that employers look for (accountability, communication, and team building), with practice and training, they can learn the hard skills (digital marketing, project management, digital collaboration).

AARP’s skill building platform was created to help older workers compete in today’s job market. Through self-paced learning courses, AARP trains older workers to be efficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and much more. Certificates are also available upon completion of the courses, which workers can present to potential employers.


Knowing Your Resources

Age discrimination against older job seekers is an unfortunate reality for so many. If you’re an older worker on the job hunt, knowing your resources is vital in helping you navigate the job market. DiversityJobs helps older workers by providing a specific community page with career advice tailored to you.  Be sure to check out the many different articles including 5 Tips for Job Seekers Over 50 Re-entering the Workforce.


Job search depression in older workers is real. Workers who are 50 and over have had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic a lot differently than younger workers. But this isn’t the end of the line for them. There are ways to navigate the current job market and overcome job search depression. Older workers are valuable, and they have years of experience that’ll ensure they land a job that’s just right for them.