Whether you are a wizard in your career or you are looking for a new opportunity, you are not young anymore—at least on paper. That often complicates things in a world that considers you “old” in your forties and fifties, and sometimes even younger. You can’t change your age, but you can make small updates that go a long way toward presenting a more youthful image. Here’s how to ageproof your career to stay relevant.
The key to staying young, or at least being perceived as relevant, is being current, both in your work skills and knowledge and in how you present yourself. By updating your appearance and technology profile, you can use your age and experience to your advantage rather than being considered dated. Here’s how.
Appearance Tips to Ageproof Your Career to Stay Relevant
Brighten Your Smile
Yellow teeth are an unmistakable sign of aging. You may still associate teeth whiteners with their distant past, when they made your teeth look abnormally blue and ridiculously fake. But now, OTC teeth whiteners can give you a smile just one or two shades lighter than the one you’ve got. They’re affordable, easy to use, and the results actually look natural.
Update Your Haircut or Hairstyle
How do you know if it’s time for a change of haircut or hairstyle? If it’s been more than five years since your last major overhaul, you can pretty much be sure that your style is outdated. And a current haircut and hairstyle can drop a decade from your looks.
Also, purchasing the “right” products and tools for your hair type is key to keeping the look that the stylist created for you. Men, this is super important for all of you! A little control paste can make a big difference. Should men color their hair? The short answer is, “Most of the time, no.” Occasionally there is a situation when it works, but this is rare. For women, getting the color that best complements your skin tone and addresses your changing hair color is a game changer. Find someone whose hair you like, and ask for a referral. Going to a qualified professional is definitely worth the investment.
Men: Skip the Five-O’Clock Shadow
On young men, a five o’clock shadow can be devil-may-care sexy. On older men, it looks like you had trouble waking up on time, perhaps drank too much Scotch, and are in need of a nap. A clean-shaven face or well-manicured beard will avoid unnecessary aging effects.
Take Care of Your Skin
Lifestyle factors such as extended periods of time in the sun can cause premature skin aging. A good skincare regimen and sunscreen is key for prevention, and regular dermatologist visits can ensure treatment for the damage that is already done.
Experiment With New Colors
As your hair and skin start to change color, you have more options to be adventurous with color in your clothes. Darker colors may be slimming, but they also make you look older than you really are. For example, wearing black can be stylish, but an all-black ensemble can make facial lines and dark undereye circles more pronounced. The good news is, the colors that didn’t look good on in you in your twenties may look great on you in your fifties. Now is the time to experiment with new colors!
Bright colors will convey a sense of youth and vibrancy. Spice up your wardrobe with greens, reds, and yellows, to appear more energetic and bold. No, you don’t have to cover yourself in rainbow colors from head to toe. Just adding a dash of color to a muted outfit can change the effect it has on an observer. Draw their eye to your face with a brightly colored necklace, necktie, or pocket square.
Carry an Updated Tote or Handbag, and a Pen
Carrying an office-appropriate bag is important; forget hobo, clutch, or evening bags. Choose a bag that keeps you organized and complements your professional attire. It is best to carry only one bag, so if you carry a tote, you can slip a small bag inside with your personal essentials.
Also carry an updated pen that matches your goals. If you pull out a plastic ball point with the end chewed off, you’ll seem sloppy or flippant. However, if you use the Uniball from the pack of six, you may be viewed as fiscally responsible and living within your means. Depending on the circumstances, using an extremely expensive pen may send the message that you are trying too hard or that you should consider being more conservative with your funds.
Technology Tips to Ageproof Your Career to Stay Relevant
Bring Your Email Address Into this Millennium
Who uses AOL or Hotmail anymore? People who were around when mainstream webmail got started more than two decades ago, that’s who. So if you are looking for a new opportunity, don’t give others a reason to believe you aren’t tech savvy. Get a free, professional-looking Gmail address that incorporates your name. (That also means get rid of that foxyvixen123 or skaterdude420 address. Keep it professional.)
List Your Cell Number
Although some professional do have office phone numbers listed, today it is almost always expected to have your cell as the primary number on business cards and email signatures.
If you’ve avoided using LinkedIn in the past, now’s the time to create a profile that promotes you and your experience and skills. Ensure you have a current, ideally professionally photographed picture that flatters you and really looks like you now.
A fresh, contemporary image can help if you are trying to move up the career ladder or if you’re searching for that next great opportunity. See what a little change can do for you!
I’m Kay Hunter, Orange County image consultant for men and women over 40. I transform mature professionals, active adults, and seniors into more successful and confident versions of themselves. By expressing yourself through style and fashion, you’ll get that boost of confidence, visibility, and value you need to get to the next level. Enhance the joy of living—because great style is ageless!