OLDER WORKERS THAT FOCUS ON PRESENTATION REAP THE REWARDS
J OBSEEKERS in the second half of their working lives – or later – may only need a few minor tweaks to how they present themselves to land their next job. Career Consultancy director Catherine Cunningham says if workers take a few simple measures to apply and present themselves appropriately, there is no reason why they cannot get another job.
She says trying to get help four days out from an application deadline or interview is too late, and it can take six months to iron out some issues, such as a bad habit to fidget.
They need to find a savvy friend, or engage a career counsellor, to advise about their personal appearance, which may not mean addressing anything inappropriate, but how to portray a modern attitude.
In readiness of attending a job interview, men are advised to visit a department store midweek, when it is quiet, and tell the sales assistant they are going to a job interview and require a “sharp outfit”.
“That does not necessarily mean you’re going to buy a suit,” Cunningham says.
A bland outfit can provide an underwhelming impression on the hirer, but complementing bland pants with a strong coloured shirt, for example, gives a bolder appearance.
She says it is much harder for women, however, as they need to consider such things as if they are wearing two different shades of black, or if a ponytail is better swapped for a plait.
“There’s more chance to get it wrong if you’re a female,” she says.
“Have an integrated look – look like you’ve co-ordinated the top and bottom.
“(Some) clothing may take power away from a female, it makes them look like they are lacking in power, like ‘isn’t she sweet’.”
When gunning for an internal promotion, first look at what those at the next level of seniority in the workplace are wearing and aim to take just a step up from that dress code.
For example, if the standard for men is T-shirts, astute workers may want to wear a polo shirt with a collar instead.
She says most employers will never tell staff that their clothing is inappropriate so workers should check to avoid it being a problem.
“That doesn’t mean the way you’re dressing will stop you being promoted,” she says.
“(But) it can happen that someone is never promoted because they were breaking their boss’ dress code.”
FIFTY’S JUST FINE: Suzanne Jeffries, a receptionist at Goodstart Early Learning Centre, with Hannah, 4.