I'm going to cut right to the chase. If you're a woman,
over 40 and looking for a job, the way you look can
hurt - or help - your chances. While appearances count
for everyone, older people are especially vulnerable
to this hidden form of bias.
not talking about wrinkles or grey hair nor am I advocating
a $10,000 wardrobe spending spree. I am talking about
the little details that convey youthful enthusiasm to
convince an employer that you're totally up to the minute
(or completely clueless). We can't turn back the clock
but there are ways to make the age factor secondary
to the job interview:
Appropriately but Modern
wear anything that will date you. Don't wear big shoulder
pads, a thigh high skirt, boots with heavy heels. I'm
not an advocate for trendy clothing but I think that
wearing something this season - fresh, modern, age-appropriate
- enhances one's credibility. Buy one terrific interview
suit that can be worn with a crisp shirt or a thin turtleneck.
Make sure it's always clean and ready to be worn at
a moment's notice.
accessories to convey an air of confidence. Make sure
shoes are appropriate for the outfit and if they're
leather, keep them polished with attention paid to the
heels. Wear one thing that's gutsy - vintage earrings,
a stack of thin silver bracelets - to let your personality
come through. Fine fishnets are terrific as an alternative
to a heavy opaque; a charming cloche or beret looks
dashing with a military style overcoat; a gorgeous umbrella
is a statement on a rainy day. Everything you wear should
be in tip-top condition. Go over your clothes to replace
or mend loose or missing buttons. You need to deal head-on
with the perception that you've been out of the loop.
Convince them otherwise - make your accessories speak
of the moment.
a Second Opinion
you're out of practice and haven't dressed for an interview
in years, seek out someone whose taste level is excellent
and ask them for advice. Ask specific questions - is
your haircut flattering? Anything stiff or bouffant
is a no-no. Is your makeup sheer enough? Every woman
looks better with eye liner and a natural-colored pencil
to define the lips. Are the earrings smart and elegant?
Does your interview outfit convey an air of confidence?
This fact-finding mission is an excellent starting point
for a strategic shopping trip to buy those building
blocks for a knockout outfit.
There's a reason the costume designer on any film gets
top billing along with the writer and the director.
Clothes help communicate a character's style, background,
motivations. Use the "costume' of the interview
suit as short-hand to your inner fabulosity.