/ Asked by Wendy
Hello! First of all, thank you in advance for your advice! I spent 14 years as a professional firefighter and technical rescue technician. Before that I was a human resource director/Office Manager for a small company for 10 years. 2 years ago, I got married and had to move to another state and could no longer pursue being a firefighter (state wide age cap, I am 45 y.o.) so I went back to school full time to pursue a bachelors degree in Occupational Safety and Health. I will graduate next year (August 2015) . My question is, with my background and work experience, is my age going to be a factor in being considered for a job? Should I be worried?
Answered by Sharon, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha, on Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Based on your various experiences, you'll want to develop a functional resume that calls out your strengths. You'll want to identify at the top "who you are" - such as Health and Safety Leader and what your knowledge, skills, and abilities are. You need to blend your experiences and education together. What you learned fighting fires and in HR are still applicable skills (don't discount them). When it comes to education, you shouldn't list graduation dates as employers might guess your age and potentially discriminate. I think you have a prime opportunity to sell your collective experiences and education. Age should not be a factor at all - and you shouldn't worry about it.
Answered by John, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Age should not be a consideration when a future employer is evaluating you for a job. I would not be worried about that at all. When you are applying for jobs you should highlight what you went to school for and the type of profession you would like to have. Do not discredit all of the experience you have had being a firefighter and a Human Resource Director/Office Manager. The experience you have gained can definitely help you in future jobs. Be sure to include your education, skills and experiences to show a future employer the opportunities you have been presented in your life and career. Good luck!
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Thursday, August 21, 2014
No, you should not be worried. You have a great combination of experience and now a degree as well! Since your experience is so extensive, I would focus on that in your resume. Be sure to tie together your work as an HR professional, Firefighter, and expertise in occupational health and safety. Those three really complement each other well for a future position. Start networking now and you will have great success. I wish you much luck in your last year of school and in your hunt!

-Nell
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, August 22, 2014
No, you should not have any concerns about age as there are age discrimination laws that protect individuals 40 years or older as it relates to employment.  It is important though, to be realistic about the level of job you pursue and the salary associated with that job.  Yours is a great story to sell to a potential employer (i.e. starting over to do something different).  When telling this story to a potential employer, emphaisize how you have been willing to make major sacrifices to do something that you are passionate about.  This could help to push you over the top.
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