Job Hunting Over 50: Will Looking Younger Make a Difference?

Last week we may have been too harsh on people who opted to have cosmetic surgery in order to salvage their youth, although I did throw a bone to those in the public eye who seem to have no choice but to have surgery for employment reasons.

This week I wanted to explore the issue of enhancements for the Average Joe or Jane over 50 who might be looking for a job.

Back in 2008 it was reported in the South Asian Post online that as a result of a perceived increase in ageism in hiring decisions, cosmetic enhancement procedures, surgical facelifts and non-surgical facelifts in Canada grew substantially in a matter of years. “With mandatory retirement gone and baby boomers still clinging to their jobs, there’s motivation for this generation in particular to keep up a more youthful image,” the article went on to say.

On the flip side, diversitynews online reported in 2007 that “Older workers face many challenges and obstacles when they are searching for a new job, but it is important that older workers do their best to avoid building personal barriers to their own success in a job search.” Three misconceptions older workers might have about getting hired were refuted…somewhat. The first—You have to look young to get a job—was determined to be completely false and somewhat risky IF you couldn’t pull it off. Placing the focus on your abilities and experience is key, according to the writer. And I agree.

The other two misconceptions—It’s a young person’s workplace AND Because I am older, I know more than most of the young workers at this job, including my young boss—carry with them attitudinal baggage that will most assuredly secure your demise, whether or not there are seeds of truth in each. When my oldest brother was 55, he was looking for a job in the computer industry. He had a great resume and years of experience but he let the fact that he was competing with a new breed of techies intimidate and wear him down. He seemed beaten and sarcastic, lacking in confidence. I have no doubt that he did not get the position he wanted because he let his mentality influence his attitude when he interviewed. Honestly, I don’t think I would have hired him either. Sorry, bro.

In today’s job market, jobs are hard to come by. Period. There are employers that prefer younger hires and stronger hires, but others would prefer to hire someone with the experience and work ethic for which the older generation is esteemed. It’s important to remember that just because you didn’t get THIS job, it doesn’t mean that the employer felt you were too old; there’s a lot of competition for every position. Try not to impose a rationale that may beat you in the end and that is refutable. Focus instead on your personal strengths and pursue companies and positions that promise the best matches.

Remember that right now the reality of job hunting, regardless of age, is that it will take longer to land a new job. Millions of all ages are in the same boat with you. Your choices? Enjoy the boat ride; find a smaller, faster boat; swim for your life or let them hang you over the side because you’re too tired to jockey for a position. Your choice.

I’d love to hear some of your hiring perspectives and job hunting successes. And bottom line—does looking younger make it easier to get a good job? Let me know what you think.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Job Hunting Over 50: Will Looking Younger Make a Difference?”
  1. Debra Dean says:

    I think it all depends on the job that you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a job with a company whose product or service is geared to a young client then, yes, it may matter. But, if the company is trying to portray itself as conservative and solid to it’s clients, an older, more experienced employee may be perfect for them.

  2. Marilynn Cronin says:

    Unfortunately yes.

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