What do Osama bin Laden and Donald Trump have in common? Both take/took extraordinary measures to look younger. Bin Laden was 54 and we now know he dyed his beard for his video tapings. Trump is 65 and is obviously bald and gray but must retain one of the Trump Tower architects to design his multiple layered comb over.
If you’ve read my many blogs, personal appearance is not a topic I typically address. My focus is on positioning job seekers to maximize their accomplishments, competencies and personal strengths. And, if you’ve met me or seen my photo, you know I am quite gray and have been for years so obviously I am not one to favor dye jobs or comb overs.
But, though there are those who are 65 and fortunate enough to look 55, many 55-year olds look 65, most often due to their genetic make-up. There are though less drastic steps than those employed by Trump and bin Laden that can be taken to minimize your flaws and maximize your appearance. Let’s deal with a few:
Facial hair – I’ve known a number of unemployed executives who have decided being out-of-work is a great time to grow a beard – not! Beards can be very becoming and if you have always had one, I am not suggesting shaving it off; but being clean shaven is the equivalent of wearing a white shirt to an interview – the most attractive, most universally appealing look. Beards are fashionable now but moustaches alone are not. Keep your facial hair if you must but this is not the time to add any.
Gray hair – again no need for dye jobs and a 60 year old man without any gray hair can look silly, but gray hair is often very dry and dull. Use a gel to add shine and to add style to avoid the “wispy” look.
Balding – do not take the Donald Trump approach … unless you want to be the butt of jokes. The opposite approach is best – a very short haircut or even shaving your head.
Overweight – you have a lot of time on your hands so start taking long walks daily and drop some of those excess pounds. When one’s weight is great enough to cause back problems so that one cannot spring out of a chair to shake someone’s hand or to jump up at the end of the interview, your weight is no longer a cosmetic issue but a question of your health and fitness to work the long hours and do the travelling often required of an executive position.
Clothing – as stated above, there is one color for dress shirts for interviews – white. Shirts should be 100% cotton and professionally laundered. You need two suits considering most companies will have you in for interviews on at least two occasions. You can’t go wrong with a navy suit and a dark gray suit. Shoes should black cap toe oxfords or similar conservative style with a fresh coat of polish. Two ties per suit will give you some variations if you need to visit more than twice. If you are not sure of how to dress, look at newscasters and late night talk show hosts. As informal as the world has become, talk show hosts dress quite formally. If you have gained weight, make sure your clothing is not tight on you or that will draw even more attention to your weight.
For over 20 years, the leadership of ExecuJobs, premier executive career search marketing firm, has assisted clients over 55 to successfully meet the challenges of age in a competitive marketplace. ExecuJobs will ensure your appearance – on the web, on the phone, via email and in-person will be highly polished, contemporary and sophisticated. Contact ExecuJobs today by calling ExecuJobs Customer Care @ 800.767.0691 or completing an online form at www.execujobs.net/contact.