Older workers continue to face barriers in the work world where their most daunting competition for jobs and promotions is youth.
Whether we like it or not, whether we believe it or not, whether or not it is legal (it isn’t), employers exercise ageism practices all the time.
No it isn’t fair; neither is it in an employer’s best interest to do so. But it is, however, a reality.
It is impossible to conceal aging and unfortunately some employers make negative assumptions about senior candidates’ stamina for work and even their potential liability due to health issues based on how “old” they look.
These are unfounded fears but if you are an older worker don’t leave it to chance—find some ways to send a different message.
One can argue that how we look has nothing at all to do with how energetic we are or how capable we are to perform our jobs.
Therefore, it is not necessary to put extra effort into enhancing our physical appearance.
I absolutely agree with the former point but adamantly challenge the latter one.
There is more riding on how well you present yourself outwardly in the world of work than anyone wants to admit.
We can’t stop ourselves from aging but that doesn’t mean we can’t look vibrant and even youthful while we do it.
Let’s consider what kinds of things make us look older or tired, or even unhealthy. With limited space for today’s column, I’ll focus on the face.
For example, how healthy is your skin tone? Do your eyes look clear and rested?
These are areas where our life years tend to show up most visibly.
If you’re like most people you could use some extra help to neutralize the unflattering effects.
My suggestions here are simple, inexpensive and non-invasive, applicable for both men and women.
At any age, our eyes are windows to our personalities.
Let’s forget about the wrinkles—everybody gets those—and consider the potential for projecting confidence and energy by drawing attention to our eyes.
Using specialized products to help minimize the look of tired eyes is a great tactic, and so is choosing a modern frame for your glasses, if you wear them.
If you are prone to dark circles under your eyes these can convey fatigue, even if that is not the cause.
Using a cosmetic concealer can do wonders to minimize this effect, and yes men can use it too.
The brightening effect on your face will be noticeable. If puffiness under the eyes is your concern, there are gender specific products to counteract those as well.
Needing eyeglasses used to be a sign of aging but people of all ages wear them now.
Instead of trying to disguise the fact that you need glasses by wearing frameless lenses that you think no one will notice (we will), why not choose a more modern style?
Defined frames are in style so look for ones that flatter your face and wear them with confidence.
I will conclude here with a final challenge to older workers—wear more colour.
Nothing will brighten up your face more quickly. It’s such a powerful tactic.
Everyone has a range of colours that look great on them. If you don’t know what those are, ask someone who does.
Wearing flattering colours will get you noticed and not only will you look livelier, you will feel more energetic.
While experience is an invaluable asset to bring to an employer, how you carry the years that come with that experience matters too.
Small changes can make a big difference between looking old or worn out and looking older but still vibrant.
Whether you are applying for a position with a new employer, or competing for a promotion with your current one, projecting an image of vitality and healthy energy can enhance your success.
It will also do wonders for your self confidence.