The story of Lisa Johnson Mandell serves as a healthy reminder about “staying relevant.” The 49-year-old reporter was stalled in her search for a new job until she removed old jobs and dates from her résumé and added youthful energy to her appearance.
If you’re an administrative professional over age 40, it pays to spend some time on your image and appearance, and not merely when you’re job hunting. Here are a few tips from Marci Alboher, who writes about careers for The New York Times:
1. Remove graduation years, early jobs and other tip-offs about your age from your résumé, says Alboher, “as long as you don’t lie.”
2. Convene a group of trusted friends who are aware of the standards in your field. Ask them for an honest feedback session on your wardrobe and appearance.
3. Learn technologies that people use in your field. Is there a teenager in your family or neighborhood who could tutor you on blogging, Twitter, social networking, RSS, instant messaging, wikis and anything else you’ve heard of but aren’t quite comfortable with?
4. Play up your online presence, and keep it professional. If you don’t have an online presence, create one. Employers say they look for one.
5. Exude enthusiasm when it comes to new things. For example, says Alboher, “If someone asks you to do a video chat or use some other technology you’ve never used before, your answer should not be, ‘Is there some other way?’ It should be, ‘Can you walk me through it?’”
6. Stay current within your field by going to a conference, or at least find the web sites of upcoming conferences to see what topics are on the agenda.
7. When you speak, present ideas about what you can do in the future, rather than harkening back to the year 1996.
8. Pick up an advice-driven book on creating a younger image. A few picks: How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp, Staging Your Comeback, by Christopher Hopkins and 40 Over 40 by Brenda Kinsel.
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