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Over 50 Job Search: Looking Young, Younger, Youngest

By Phyllis Mufson

How important it is to look younger in order to compete for jobs? You’ll find lots of articles telling you its very important. They usually focus on the importance of losing weight and getting in shape, and sometimes on plastic surgery.

I agree that it’s great to be fit and healthy, important for all of us. But it takes time to get in shape and lose weight and hopefully you have, or will have, interviews coming up soon.

And to be frank, when you are over 50, I don’t think trying to look young in order to find work is a a great strategy. Young people are always going to be better at looking young than you are. When you get to middle age and beyond, it’s time to find other assets to flaunt.

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Boomers/Over 50 Looking Better!

Rather than focusing on how to look younger, this article is my opinionated view about what really works to look healthier, and more vital.

The emphasis is on low-cost options that work quickly.

Everything that follows has been tested by me, and by my clients.

These techniques will help you create a good impression in interviews and also help you feel your best.

1. Clothing: Focus on looking appropriate, attractive, and up-to-date.

Color:

Wearing colors that flatter you is probably the single best way to make yourself look healthier, and therefore more vital. When I was out of state dealing with a harrowing family emergency, to cheer myself up I revamped my wardrobe following suggestions about colors that would suit me. I spent less than $100, primarily at thrift shops. When I returned, exhausted, I got continual comments on how great I looked.

Any of the books in the “Color Me Beautiful” series will help you find the colors that will suit you best. They also publish a book with tips for men. The books are available, used, on Amazon, starting at one penny.

Choosing garments that fit:

Choose clothing for interviews that fit the body you have right now, not the one you had ten years ago, or the one you’ll have when you loose weight. If your body isn’t a standard size, select garments that fit your largest part and invest in having the rest taken in by a tailor. If you’ve never used a tailor you’ll be amazed at what a difference perfectly fitting garments will make. Low on cash? Borrow from a friend, or shop second-hand.

What to wear:

Choose clothing that is one step up than you would wear day-to-day in your new role. For example: if you would be wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, wear khakis and a polo shirt to your interview, if you would wear a sport jacket and slacks, wear a suit.

2.  Hair:  Again, think flattering, appropriate, and up-to-date.

To dye or not to dye: If you decide to dye your hair, I recommend you opt to do it yourself only if you are covering a bit of grey or changing your shade slightly.

How can you get the benefit of a top hairdresser if you’re low on cash? Here are some options:

  • Have a hairdresser design a hair color and formula you can continue on your own. Make an appointment with the best hairdresser you can afford after checking to find out if they are open to this option.
  • No money for a salon visit? You can offer to be a model for a beauty school class. The upside: it’s free. The downside: you may be given the color or style they want to give you, rather than your wish.
  • Another option is to sign up for local steep discount deal sites like Groupon, LivingSocial or BuyWithMe. You will frequently find steeply discounted coupons for hair care services from salons.

Styling: The same advice applies as in dyeing with the additional suggestion that for many men it’s time to consider shaving facial hair, particularly if you just wear a mustache. If your facial hair looks attractive and distinctive, keep it. Ask the women in your life to be frank with you. Your daughters will be - I’m sure.

3. Skin care: Here's good news.

There are now skin care products that really will improve your skin tone and lessen the impression of fine lines. They won’t remove deep wrinkles (which is the realm of plastic surgery, another topic).

However, your ruddiness can lessen, your dull skin can refresh, and fine lines can become less visible -- very quickly. More good news is that low-cost products you can buy at your local drug store can perform as well as high-priced brands.

How can you sort out products that really deliver from those that don’t – and at the lowest possible price? Consult Beautypedia, for detailed, science-based reviews of skincare for men and women, and for makeup.

Want to see results fast? Start with products for exfoliation. You’ll see the difference in days.

4. Teeth: Whitening works.

Having your teeth whitened by a dentist will give you better results than drugstore products, and it is another service frequently discounted on the local deal sites I mentioned under "hair," above.  For an inexpensive touch-up that works well on wine, coffee, or stains from smoking, many people have recommended "Brighten-Up."

5. Posture: Attention!

Stand up straight – even straighter. If you were ever in the military, put yourself at "attention" for your best posture.

Or, try the old trick of imagining a string attaching the top of your head to the ceiling works great. Picture the string pulling up your skeleton. Really stretch, and then let your muscles relax. This does wonders for your energy and your appearance.

Bottom Line

If these suggestions sound like a lot to do, choose one, and follow through. Taking action on any one of these suggestions will make a noticeable difference in your appearance, and probably, motivate you to try another, and then another. The result, you’ll look great and feel more confident in interviews.

More About Age and Job Search:


About the author...

Phyllis Mufson is a career / business consultant and a certified life coach with over 25 years of experience. She has helped hundreds of clients successfully navigate career transitions. You can learn more about Phyllis and her practice at PhyllisMufson and follow Phyllis on Twitter @PhyllisMufson and Google+.


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Guide to Job Search for Boomers & Those Over 50:

Over 50 / Boomer Job Search Concerns:

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Figuring Out What's Next for Over 50 / Boomers:

Developing Your Personal Success Plan for Over 50 / Boomers:

Making Your Best Impression for Over 50 / Boomers:

Over 50 / Boomer Career Pioneers:

Over 50 / Boomer Career Change:

Additional Resources:


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