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How Old Do You Look?

A Job Search Style Makeover for Men

How Old Do You Look?

We’ve all heard about the importance of first impressions, and this is especially true during a job search when competition is fierce. Your appearance, resume and even the way you search for a job could be preventing you from getting the interviews and job offers you deserve. If you’re concerned your job search is at a standstill because you appear to be too old, it’s time for a job search style makeover.

Refresh Your Resume

Retro might be cool in some fashion or design realms, but it’s not a good look for your resume. “Nothing communicates ‘out-of-touch’ more clearly than a resume that looks old-fashioned,” explains Louise Fletcher, president of Blue Sky Resumes, a former Monster contributor and a career expert with 15 years of HR experience.

“Age discrimination isn't actually about age,” says Fletcher. “It's about all the things that are erroneously assumed to go along with being older, such as being out of touch, less technologically aware and less energetic than a younger person.”

Fletcher says the resume is a chance for you to show you’re not any of those things. Here are some tips:

  • Trim early experiences, such as jobs older than 10 to 15 years. 
  • Include links to social networking profiles, such as BeKnown, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. Set up such profiles to be highly professional, not personal. 
  • Add information about hobbies if they are sports-related. 
  • Consider removing graduation dates. 
  • Review resume samples written by professional resume writers to see the latest style trends.

The resume shouldn’t chronicle everything you’ve ever done. “Show that you are an invigorated job candidate who's not even close to peaking in your career,” says Cliff Flamer, a professional resume writer and executive director of BrightSide Resumes. Flamer suggests illustrating that you've been keeping your skills refreshed, such as through certification courses, ongoing study, volunteer work and membership in professional organizations.

The key is relevancy. Focus on the qualifications that are most important to the job you’re pursuing while underplaying older or irrelevant experiences.

Use Technology to Your Advantage

If you’re mailing resumes through the US Postal Service and waiting for the phone to ring, you could be in for a long job search. “Older men need to understand that job searching doesn't work the way it used to,” says Fletcher. Hiring managers are likely to source for candidates online using job boards like Monster.com, search engines and social networking sites.

“The best advice I can give any job seeker is to build a strong and professional online presence,” says Fletcher. ”Be on social networking sites, connect with as many people as you can, and -- if you have a talent for writing -- consider starting a blog and/or writing articles about your expertise.” Also, your resume should be ready to go in email format, and you need to be well-versed on how to send documents and communicate via email.

Not only will using modern job search methods help you get noticed, but employers will see you are in tune with the latest technologies and tools.

Update Your Look

Now that your foot is in the door for a job interview, it’s time for a style check. What message is your image conveying?

Joseph Rosenfeld, a San Jose-based image consultant and owner of JosephRosenfeld.com, says there’s nothing wrong with showing signs of aging, but older men can create a style that is contemporary. “If a man hasn’t been shopping for a while, his clothes will look dated, and then he looks dated,” says Rosenfeld, who has been providing style advice to men for more than eight years. He advises men to select a suit that looks sophisticated, fits well, flatters the body shape and is age-appropriate.

Also, pay attention to your hair. If the style is unkempt or has not been updated in awhile, go to a hair stylist, advises Rosenfeld. And what about gray hair? It comes down to personal preference. “If the job seeker wanted to revive a more youthful look, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend coloring hair,” says Rosenfeld.

The ultimate confidence-booster is a focus on physical fitness. “When you walk in an interview and your endorphins are running high because you’re staying active, you exude a youthfulness and an energy that people want to access,” explains Rosenfeld. Staying fit can also influence your mental acuity, increasing the odds of a successful interview.

Remember that your experience and skills are of value to employers. The key is to get invited to interviews to give yourself the chance to shine. Your updated look and career marketing materials can help you do just that.

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