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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Branding: Do You Look Too Old For The Job?

Branding Yourself in Mid Life.
Marva Goldsmith is a insightful writer who  knows what it is to reinvent yourself as a older worker. Part of the game is how you look. Do you look 60 or 20? What is appropriate for a seasoned skilled worker to wear to a job interview? Her book on Branding Over 50 offers some insight. (Editor's Note)

"What does your packaging look like?
Some think of image as something shallow or relating only to surface features, but as with commercial brands, personal branding includes the proper selection and construction of your personal brand packaging.

First impressions matter. You must take control of your appearance. People form opinions of you—right or wrong—within moments of meeting you. That means you can’t afford to leave someone’s impression of you up to chance.

Studies show that in the first 30 seconds of meeting you, people base their impression of you on this:
55%    What they see
38%    How you speak
7%    What you say

We all know snap judgments can be wrong and unfair. Still, you can’t ignore the reality: people form opinions based on the most minor details. More than half of what goes into forming someone’s first impression of you happens even before you open your mouth. That’s right: 55% of someone’s initial response to you is based on visual cues. That could easily be a whole workbook in itself (check out Spin Me: Creating the Image That Gets the Job; An Image Guide for Recent Grads and Job Hunters at marvagoldsmith.com), but for the basics, here’s a primer on what to consider, especially when going to an interview.
Clothing—People do judge books by their covers, every day. Make sure that your cover conveys the message you want people to remember. Here’s a sample of messages that your clothing might be saying about you (whether you like it or not):

Tips for the 50+ job seeker

You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

—George Burns, Comedian
First and foremost, if you purchased your interview suit in the 1900s…think about an upgrade. You must look current. Your clothing, your eyewear, and your hair must tell the story that you are current. That does not mean to dress like a youngster, only that you must appear up-to-date, interesting, fresh, competent, etc. Invest in an all-weather wool suit in navy blue or charcoal gray. For creative industries, you have more latitude with color.
Take the Career Skills Test for Free. 

Make a statement about your personality with your scarf choice and/or jewelry selection. Women especially can use jewelry to bring color and interest into the interview uniform. Earrings should not dangle and the jewelry should not make noise, as it can be distracting.

If your hair is silver, wear accents of blue or a French blue shirt to add vitality to your face. Depending on your personal coloring, a white shirt can drain the color from your face, leaving a “ghastly” appearance. If you have stark silver in your hair and the rest of your hair is black or very deep brown—avoid brown tones; the color will make your hair look dull.

And, what about a dye job? 
Only if you can get a professional to dye and maintain the look.  Avoid stark colors, i.e., jet black at 62 years old.  Use colors that look natural--including a little silver around the temples.  Aim for a look that connotes vibrancy, vitality and health...and that does not necessarily require a dye job.

Before your interview, use Visine. Not only does it get the “red out,” it also whitens and adds a little sparkle.

If your teeth are stained, consider professional teeth cleaning or whitening. If that’s too expensive, then opt for some of the over-the-counter toothpaste whiteners

Use Facebook To Attract Hiring Managers.
Learn More About Branding:

Personal Branding: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself (video).
Top 10 Tips for Personal Branding Online as a Boomer.

    Read more From:Marva GoldSmith Branding Yourself After Age 50


    1. This is ridiculous. This is not about whether I look 35 or 40. This is about the fact that the young rule in the job market. people want to hire people they feel comfortable. that means like them most of the time. the people doing the hiring are young. the people they hire are young. i had 2 job interviews the other day only to be told at the end of the second interview I was overqualified. the person hired had a very similar resume. the difference? he was much younger.

      The young are able to take advantage of internships that pay nothing or very little. those of us on our own without the benefit of student loans, don't have this luxury. and it makes a huge difference. there are many things i would like to be doing to retrain but they all involve money I don't have.

    2. I agree it is ridiculous. The basic rule is still the best rule of thumb...when in doubt dress conservatively. The colors of navy blue and charcoal grey are good choices. But in terms of teeth whitening that's a bit overboard. A good "whitening" toothpaste is a good choice.

      As for being overqualified that's just an excuse not to hire someone who is experienced. Younger employers feel they can't pay an experienced worker instead of taking the ballsy approach and let the interviewee know what the job pays and if the person is willing to work for that amount of pay. You are correct when you refer to younger workers willing to work for next to nothing but as in everything you get what you pay for!

    3. The smart advice here is to dress conservatively AND update your hairstyle, accessories, etc. so that you come across as someone who keeps current. That goes beyond just clothing choices and appearance because the message you are sending if you don't is that you don't care and that you may not be staying current with other important things like what's going on in your industry.
      Being told you are "overqualified" is not an excuse - it's reality. In this tough job market there are hundreds, if not thousands, applying for each job opening. It only makes sense that the employer would want someone who better meets the position requirements and not someone desperate for a job who will likely become bored or, worse, continually challenge the way things are done because they "know better".
      My advice is to keep looking and find that position that you really believe you will do well at, and point out during your interview how your higher level of experience is most valuable to the employer. Drop the negativity - just like in dating, no one wants desperate or negative individuals.
      And, just for the record, I am a professional female, over age 50, and recently landed an excellent position (2 levels below what I used to do, but with a much sought after employer) after almost a year and a half of being unemployed. And I am thrilled!

    4. I agree with the others that have commented, navy blue works well. Have a three piece navy suit that I only wear to interviews, had it for years and it never goes out of style. Sometimes though I won't wear the vest.
      As for teeth whitening I don't know, just brush your teeth within an hour or two of the interview. That's what I did and it worked. You just don't want to show up to the interview with cigarette odor and yellow teeth or maybe food between your teeth.
      As for dying your hair, I did use Grecian during the last two job hunts and was successful. But what I did isn't dying your hair. I'll admit it did make me look a bit younger when I looked in the mirror.

    5. No matter how cool and up to date you dress, no matter how much you bone up on what I call youth corporate culture, the minute they LOOK at your face, they're going to see you as "the old guy", and start mentally eliminating you. I've had this happen to me, and I'm, comparatively speaking, youthful looking for my age. Even if you pass the youthful looking/slash dressing test, once they look at your resume, or even hear you speak, they are going to KNOW. I've gone to interviews where I was dressed better and was shaved cleaner than the young CEOwho greeted me. I agree with a previous commented about this being about how the young rule the job market. These people are looking fr people they can hang out with at work, creating an almost sitcom atmosphere. If they feel you're going to come in and potentially "be dad" or the pathetic old guy who thinks he's cool, they're going to blow you off.
      My advice is to do what I did. Go into business for yourself(I am a Creative Caricature Marketing Cosultant) and then maybe you can pitch your services to these companies as a consultant.

    6. In 30 years of pounding the turf, I have never been hired by someone in HR. I've been hired by the people who need to get a job done, often over the objections of HR. So, dressing yourself up to appeal to the eloi gatekeepers just seems stupid. Do your homework, find out who is really doing the hiring and circumvent HR altogether.
      All this assumes, of course, that you are good enough that the person who needs help will go to bat for you. It happens lots more often than you think!

    7. Reminds me that the principle of not having more than 10 years of job experience on your resume also helps hide age.
      It all comes down to whether there's a match - between you and the prospective employer.
      My experience with the "youth" in the market has reveled an incredible level of ignorance (vp of IT didn't know anything about software); a tremendous amount of arrogance (one person tried to 'correct' my handwriting because she didn't understand the "final" t notation); and an amazingly alarming loss of common courtesy, decency and respect (one HR director just glared at me - without introducing himself after speaking glowingly about me over the phone - and never sent a rejection letter or any sort of follow-up; learned I didn't get the job when I found the job was re-posted).
      I am over 50...and just found THE job of my life... exactly what I wanted..and several MAJOR steps up from the last job.

    8. I just turned 42... and starting to think more and more of the word "old"... depressing.

    9. This whole notion of bending over backwards to the employment 'gods' has become excessive. Dress professionally, contemporarily, conservatively, quality clothing, etc. YES all common sense positions that have ALWAYS applied to the job search. But do I REALLY want to work for a company that would hesitate to hire me (or not at all) because I have a few more grey hairs (or a few LESS hairs) than they deem acceptable? I think not.

    10. OK, first impressions do matter. I know that a good "dye" job can change the impresssion of your age. I've thought about doing it. The article seems geared towards women. Styles for Men don't really change that much. I don't know too many people who bought their suit in 1900, do you? The suits I bought in the 80's would be a problem now because they are too dressy. Toss out the vest and jacket, that's way too much now. Maybe a tie, but you'll still be a little too dressy. The pants, if they still fit, if they weren't thread-bare, would still work now.

      Wow, a readable word verification image. Nice.

    11. As an image consultant, I totally agree that first impressions count.

      Of course your appearance is not the only thing they are going to judge in the interview, but in such a competitive market, with possibly your age against you already, it makes sense to give the very best impression you can.

      Like it or not, a dated appearance does give the impression that your skills may also be dated.

      It's difficult to see yourself as others do, so my advice would be to ask someone else (preferably younger) who will give you an honest opinion on your appearance and interview outfit.

      Don't create obstacles for yourself before you even open your mouth!

    12. As a corporate recruiter for the Hospitality industry, I have had to change my opinion of appearance mattering. I, too, am in my 50's and have to aadmit, I am astounded that people still feel they can "circumvent HR" and still be successful as a candidate. WE are NOt gatekeepers, we are team members with our hiring managers. Like it or not, IF you ever get hired by doing this, you will have to talk to, or "deal with" HR at some point in your career, as a hiring manager, and will realize that they can be very he;pful, if not indispensable in the hiring process. I have seen many candidates coem in to an interview with teh attitude that HR is just a gatekeeper, and it is dissrespectful, and will NOT get you the job.
      Yes, you should look presentable, (DO NOT try and cover with cologne or perfume), and yes, you should pay attention to your breathe (especially smokers) and yes, you should care about how you treat the person in HR. They can help you get promoted in the future.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. Articles like this and writers who beat the drum that the value in an individual must first be determined by superficial impressions are IDIOTS! And admitting that it is unfair yet continuing to embrace the bias through these articles doesn't give you a pass to keep the concept alive and well by perpetuating the DOs and DON'Ts of this nonsense.

      Where's the wisdom in the philosophy that VANITY must be accepted as the driver for determining if a person, any person, has value?

      What would Mother Theresa, Gandhi and Jesus Christ think of your sage advice? Have you no shame?

      Get over yourself and let people be themselves rather than some empty suit or empty pant suit on a catwalk.

    15. Some of these comments make it seem like they don't really need the jobs they are interviewing for. After being unemployed for 6 months I think buying an updated skirt and jacket and getting some highlights for interviews is a small thing that will give added confidence. By balking about changing these small things you prove their preconceived ideas about you to be true.

    16. What rubbish. Age discrimination IS ILLEGAL! Hello? What's next, advising black Americans to lighten their skin? Asians have surgery to change their eye lids? People who write this stuff under the guise of "helping others" are ignorant and have never been discriminated against based on age, gray hair etc. HR and hiring managers wake up. The talent pool of people who have worked 30+ years is wonderful and not worn out or tainted.

    17. "Rubbish" Perhaps for you. Yes Age discrimination is illegal but you have to prove it in hiring. Good luck! Below is the info from the EEOC.Gov site:http://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/age.cfm

      Pre-Employment Inquiries
      The ADEA does not specifically prohibit an employer from asking an applicant’s age or date of birth. However, because such inquiries may deter older workers from applying for employment or may otherwise indicate possible intent to discriminate based on age, requests for age information will be closely scrutinized to make sure that the inquiry was made for a lawful purpose, rather than for a purpose prohibited by the ADEA. If the information is needed for a lawful purpose, it can be obtained after the employee is hired.

    18. Some statistics.Last year there were
      23,264 age discrimination complains with the ECOC. 93.4 million in monetary benefits form the EEOC intervention. This does not include any litigation monetary benefits.

    19. There's a lot to be said for looking sharp, competent, and presenting a professional image during an interview no matter your age, or the age of your prospective employer.

      Experience is not always what companies want or need. My personal experience shows that it has more often been about what value I WILL bring to the party. Past experience doesn't always matter, especially in tech where your past five years is all that matter. Throttled enthusiasm is infectious and can overcome any potential biases influencing your interview.

      Last word: if you find yourself upset at how you believe you are being treated during an interview the company (and prospective boss) may not be the right fit for you, and I would simply move on.

    20. Wondering what professions use Marva services? There may be some value in her school of thought, but hey, get serious, and get down to business and get the job.

      She is a certified image professional (CIP) and a certified personal brand strategist (CPBS). Marva also received additional leadership training from Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching.

      What is that??

    21. This comment has been removed by the author.

    22. Personally, I recommend going with one that you noted be trustworthy. When shopping for things like designer dresses, one of the worst fears that people must deal with is avoiding counterfeit products.

    23. This article states that old=bad, therefore don't look old. Interesting to note that you are comfortable with discrimination. If a minority person interviews with a racist hiring manager, will you write an article on how to look Caucasian? If a female interviews with a sexist hiring manager, will you write an article on how to appear masculine? If a Jewish person interviews with a prejudiced hiring manager, will you write an article on how to appear WASP-ish? If you are saying, no of course not, that is different, then you are saying discrimination is bad unless it is against those over a certain age.

    24. Younger people are cheaper. So, I'd avoid applying for a job where people can and will work for dirt.

      If you have found a potential job where skills and talent are the drivers, then be authentic, and don't try to be something you're not. A 60-year-old trying to be a 30-year-old will immediately create a negative impression; a 60-year-old expressing enthusiasm and job knowledge will create a positive impression.

    25. This has been interesting reading. As a 55 year old senior executive in the job market after 30+ years of continuous employment, I had to come to grips with the fact that relatively speaking I am "old". With experience and ambition beyond what I offered as a 35 year old, I realize that my receding, gray hairline is part of the first impression. But, just part. I'm up for the fight.
      Thanks for the thoughts.

    26. Jack from MarltonMarch 9, 2012 at 10:42 AM

      I thought this article was useful. Like it or not, age bias is there and most people tend to form opinions immediately based on what they see. I am 59 and still in the hunt, but if I land an interview, I assume because they have seen my resume that I have just as good a chance as anybody.
      The visine tip was a good one. Just be sure to put it in about 10 minutes ahead of the meeting. It makes your eyes look glassy the first few minutes after you apply. I also have a greying mustache which I make sure to keep well-trimmed. I am not ready to dye it, but if it's long and bushy it becomes noticeable. If you are losing weight to look younger, you may have an odor to your breath. I've been told it's not unpleasant, but noticeable. I make sure to tuck a couple of mini-altoids between lip and gum just before the meeting. There are companies that are less age-bias than others such as non-profits and government jobs. If you're an older job seeker, concentrating more on these classes of employers will probably improve your odds.
      Hang in there and keep smiling.

    27. Here's a basic economic rule: If there's money to be made at doing something, someone will do it. Hence, in a near 10 year old recession/depression, we have "image consultants" preying on the unemployed who are desperate for any edge in the hope of landing a job. Save your money, be yourself, and use your skills to (hopefully) land a job. If you have to have perfect teeth, hair, looks, and a new wardrobe for the position, believe me, you don't want it.

    28. Some choose to describe their experience as a full blown mid life crisis whereas others euphemistically refer to it as 'losing the plot'. Either way, it's a phase we all have to go through. So, if we can't avoid it, we can at least understand the positive purpose behind the pain.

    29. I work with and hire lots of people who have gray hair and are over 60. For the most part, they are wonderful employees! Age makes no difference to me (I actually tend to favor maturity) -- it's energy I look for. Assuming you aren't physically challenged, I recommend putting a spring in your step when you're on an interview; anything to convey energy and good health (without going overboard, of course). Some may say that this really means "try to look youthful," but I say not necessarily. Being able to move relatively quickly and with ease conveys to the employer that you are efficient, have stamina to work possibly long hours, and are interested in the job. Just my experience!

    30. my friend was competing for a job that had a ft and pt position. after she was hired the hiring manager told her they hired the younger person for the ft job as they wanted to groom her to be the supv and they thought my friend would be retiring shortly. the younger person they hired has continually missed work due to child care and personal issues. meantime, the coworkers would much rather my friend had been hired as she is dependable, knowledgable and hasn't missed any work. plus she's still a good 5 years away from retirement..if she even goes then.

    31. speaking as an hr mgr, older applicants can project what I call "tired energy". ensure your wardrobe is up-to-date, exercise, have interests, don't go back more than 10 years in your career history (employers are more interested in recent accomplishments), and don't give personal information that can give away your age. Applicants are sharing way too much personal information these days. The long term unemployed probably just need some interview training.

    32. It is challenging to compete for a job in a young person's creative field. Jobs and employers are out there, or will be out there at some point, and I want to be there to get the job. I can make a huge contribution for the right employer.

      The problem, of course, is staying the course and staying positive. Taking jobs which are not at all what I want take a toll on my self esteem.


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