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Drastic Measures

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

More Drastic Measures Needed to Get the Job Interview

Botox Fix Inadequate

The other day I was reading an article in the Personal Journal – In Depth: Style section of the Wall Street Journal, titled, Botox for the Resume: One Woman’s Image Makeover’ (June 26, 2008). The article featured this darling 49-year old woman and her experience of being overlooked for jobs she was qualified to do; the employers were choosing the younger applicants instead. The suggestions to wear more youthful clothes, get a stylistic haircut and be technologically savvy were interesting and the ideas apparently helped her get the job she was certainly qualified for, but was not getting offered prior to these changes.

My first thought after reading the article and seeing the attached pictures was if this person had trouble prior to getting herself “youthed-up”, I am really going to have trouble! First, the “19 hairs on my head” make it difficult for the best hair stylist in town to create a modern hair style. I think the shorter hair styles can be a dead giveaway that I am 50+, but my hair no longer grows at all! (More on this topic later!) The added 15 pounds to my body gives even the best outfits that “just stuffed” look. My average height and general/okay looks will not help set me apart from other applicants. I pity the poor person who would have to “fix me” for such an article!

Feeling slightly depressed, I continue reading the article and come to the real meat of the story which stated employers want employees who are energetic, willing to work hard and to understand the new and changing ways the world works and communicates, and I start to fell better about my future career situation. Their point seemed to be that first impressions are very important, so look your ‘youthful’ best. Unfortunately, people like me are going to have to go a different route. It’s probably a good idea prior to an interview for me to purchase some fresh-looking outfits, get a new do, but that’s not going to be enough to make the employer choose me for this coveted position. I think my recipe for scoring the best job has a different set of ingredients to get the best end result. I need to be fast in my thoughts and presentation. I need to be great with names and facts. I need to be witty and clever and seem like a whole lot of fun to be around. I need to be a good listener and ask interesting questions.

In the office where I used to be employed, we had this one woman who fit my current description in many ways. I did think of her as ‘older’ but not irrelevant or unimportant. She had my ‘slightly better-than-average’ looks but that did not seem to matter. She was the first to learn various computer programs, put up with a bunch of (shit) from other employees she did work for, and my favorite, she walked around at 5 pm on Friday afternoons offering wine or a beer to those of us still on the phones or working at our desks. She had a positive attitude, found something nice to say about (almost) everyone, never backed away from a difficult project and she generally made you feel good knowing her. I would hire her if I had a company and was hiring, even though her clothes and hair style were nothing to brag about.

Am I way off base? Now, the real question is, if I am correct in my assumptions about my predicament, how do I get in the door or past the first cut of resumes? I would love your thoughts and suggestions in this matter.

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Blogger Jenny said...

I don't think you're totally off base. Appearence and first impressions DO matter, but age isn't the first thing I would notice. I would notice how friendly and outgoing you are before your age.

August 15, 2008 at 8:56 PM  

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