The Courier-Mail - Career One - - Front Page -

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.

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