One of my favorite comebacks to this issue came from a 40-plus man in Ohio who would gladly take a lesser paying position because he wants to get back to work, and asks, "If you were buying a Chevy, but you were offered a Cadillac for the same price, wouldn't you take it?"
Tweak your resume. Even if you're particularly proud of every aspect of your job history, omit a few details from your resume if you're seeking a lesser position than you've previously held. Some people call this dumbing down, but I think of it as targeting your document to the position you're applying for.
Last 10 to 15 years. Only include the last 10 to 15 years of your work history — don't go back to the 1970s and '80s. You'll be judged on the most recent work anyway.
Remove college dates. Don't include the year of college attendance or graduation unless it was within he past five years.
Drop hefty job titles. Leave off a job title if the position is higer than what you're applying for now.
If you were a VP and you're applying for a manager position that is significantly lower than the one you held, use the name of the department, instead of the actual title. Leaving the big title will just draw attention to something that might concern an employer and could prevent them from even considering you for an interview.
Most importantly, keep plugging away. Job searching now is a challenge for everyone, no matter what age. And there's no doubt that it's harder if you're over 40 because of the need to overcome all kinds of bias, even unintentional bias. I don't want to sugar coat it, but I believe that ultimately, great experience will win you the job you want.