How Can You Combat the Job Market’s Perception of “Old Age”? Part 1 of 3, Marva Goldsmith
Marva L. Goldsmith, AICI CIP
Begin by addressing the misconceptions that many mature workers face when seeking employment:
1. You’re too old (You’ve outlived your usefulness)!
2. You’re too expensive (Your wage could support three new employees)!
3. Your education is outdated (You can’t keep up with new technologies)!
There may be others, but these are definitely the BIG three. The reality is that these perceptions exist in the career marketplace, and as we all know, perception is reality. Let’s take these issues one at a time.
You’re too old! (You’ve out lived your usefulness.)
This is probably the easiest perception to correct. Based on your resume, an interviewer can guess your age within a certain range, so it isn’t something you can hide. However, your physical appearance and demeanor do not have to shout, “I’m old.” The reality is that older workers are not competing on a level playing field. As such, you must do everything you can to gain an equal footing with the competition:
- If you’re overweight, lose some pounds. Weight adds age and gives the perception that you are undisciplined…perhaps even susceptible to weight related illnesses.
- If your wardrobe is dated and staid, hire an image consultant or go to Nordstrom and engage their free stylist. (Some Macy’s also have stylists available at no charge.)
- If your teeth and eyes are dull and yellow, purchase whitener.
- Identify a role model that will help you to realize that you can look and feel terrific at any age (My role model is Madonna! I may not have her budget—but with exercise [walking] and diet [drop the donuts and soda] the solution is fairly inexpensive.).
- Raise the energy bar! When walking into an interview with confidence and energy, you will present an appearance that is much younger than your dowdy, unsure counterparts.
Stayed tuned next time for “You’re too expensive!” (Your wage could support three new employees.)
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