Even though experience should count as a big plus when you're job searching, it's not necessarily an asset these days. In fact, the older you are, the longer it can take, and the more difficult it can be to find a job. You can’t change your age, but you can update your wardrobe and hairstyle, which can go a long way toward presenting a more youthful image.
You can strategically write your resume and cover letter, but you can't change the basic facts - your actual age and your employment history are etched in stone. These days, you can be considered "old" in your forties and fifties, and sometimes even younger.
However, there are ways you can work on your appearance when you are job searching. And that can make a big difference, especially when you're interviewing. So, take some time to go through your closet and plan for a quick shopping trip, and maybe a trip to the hair salon, before your next interview.
Fashion Tips for Older Job Seekers
Here are some fashion and style tips from fashion expert, Cynthia Nellis. By updating your appearance and going with a new style, you can use your age and experience to your advantage rather than being considered dated. A new contemporary look can go a long way towards helping during your job searching. In addition, a new fashion-forward image may help if you have a job and are trying to move up the career ladder.
Cynthia says, "The three tip-offs to a woman's age: hair cut/color, shoes, and handbag. I've found that those three things are the least likely to be updated in our wardrobes on a regular basis." Here is Cynthia's expert advice on how to update your job search image.
Update Your Haircut and Color
Cynthia thinks an updated haircut and color is one of the most transformative measures you can take to project an updated image. How do you know if it's time for a change in hairstyle? Well, if it's been more than five years since you've done a major overhaul, you can pretty much be sure that your style is outdated.
There are so many great styles for older women looking for jobs, from a chin-length bob to a cute, cropped pixie haircut like Jamie Lee Curtis wears. Find someone in your office or a friend with a hairstyle you like and ask where she gets it done. A trusted stylist can guide you in the right way for both style and color.
If you’re going to change your hair color, it's best to go to a pro rather than do it with an at-home kit unless you’re experienced. While it looks easy, hair coloring is hard, plus a stylist can help you select a hair color that goes with your natural skin tones.
Choose Comfort Shoes With Style
As for shoes, Cynthia knows that comfort is key as a woman ages, but that doesn't mean you need to be wearing white sneakers to work. There are options that are both comfortable and stylish.
So-called comfort shoes come in all sorts of price levels and you can find some pretty fabulous work pumps that deliver comfort and style. Rockport makes all sort of comfy boots and pumps, and there are many styles like Bella Vista and Fitzwell for budget-minded gals on sites like Zappos.
Get an Updated Classic Handbag
For the office and job interviews, you don't need to carry a trendy handbag but make sure it’s updated. Avoid busy-looking bags with studs or crossbody styles that can be awkward to shuffle around when you sit for your interview.
In general, women's handbags have gotten larger and softer over the years, with styles like hobos with pockets becoming work classics. The easiest way to buy an updated handbag is to shop in a store that carries younger or more contemporary items that are work ready, like Banana Republic.
What to Wear to an Interview
There are so many alternatives for women in the workplace right now, in addition to traditional suits. A cardigan worn belted over a pencil skirt or pair of trousers gives a polished option. A shirt dress looks pulled together and professional. And pantsuits (yes, the matchy-matchy kind) are a big fashion trend that will never go out of style in the boardroom.