9 Professional Image Interview Tips for the 50 Somethings

by May 28, 20153Plus, Professional Image and Fashion

Professional image interview tips for the 50 somethings

 

interview over 50

 

The job market is tough and even tougher for those over 50’s

So, if you’re over one of the growing number of women over 50 trying to get back into the workforce or looking for a new opportunity, make sure your professional image is on point. Keep your look current by incorporating some modern styling tips into your outfit, to make the best first professional impression.

You have decades of career and life experience but chances are your rivals are 20-30 years younger and your interviewer will suspect you are stuck in the 90’s if you don’t get your image up-to-date.

9 great tips

1. Make a Great First Impression

You want to make a great first impression that will make them not only take you seriously, Factor in that women are judged far more harshly and frequently on their appearance in the recruitment process than men. But believe you are up-to-date and able to deal with the ever-changing challenges in the workplace today.

You only get one chance to make the right first impression.

What really matters in an interview are your skills and experience and how you answer the interviewers questions, but in a job market where employers must decide between numerous qualified candidates, the right outfit with the right colours can set you apart from the pack (Read: Why you should make your professional image part of your career strategy)

2. Get up to date

Professional dress has changed massively in recent years. Business casual has seeped into almost every industry, even the most conservative, and you have to look current to avoid looking dowdy and dated.  Know that interview attire is often seen as a test of a candidate’s familiarity with the company culture and industry sector. The fact that you wearing something current, will show you have put some effort into preparing for the interview, so do your homework.

Spend time on the internet researching the company, industry and competitors to determine suitable interview outfits. If you are still not sure, know it’s OK to discreetly ask your HR contact for advice about company culture, or even connections in your LinkedIn network.

3. Project your Image

Think about the image you want to project. What is the role of the job you are going for? Learn how to have control over the impact you want to make. Remember everything you put on says something about you. Be aware not only of the industry but of the time of year and geographical location too.

4.  Colour, shape and style

In many cases dressing for success is key to securing the job.

Invest in finding out what colours, shapes and styles suit you and how to make the impact you want to create. You don’t have to be a fashionista to find a job. You don’t have to follow every passing trend so don’t panic. Some fashions will not look well on you. If you’re tempted to go for the on trend “party up front and business at the back” look with your shirt, don’t. That is not advisable for any age in an interview setting,  but at 50 plus it can back fire.

4. Accessories

Do mix up your outfit with some fashionable quality accessories. You can catapult your look into very easily, by wearing accessories that are current. A new tote bag in one of the seasons colours is a great way (Read How to choose the best handbag for your body type) or a shoe with a modern heel.

Today’s business casual attire has opened up the opportunity to wear just about any colour we want.  If you do wear a bright jacket, just remember to keep the rest of your outfit simple. Alternatively, consider adding a splash of colour in another way. Why not liven up a neutral outfit with a quality scarf either around your neck or tied around your waist and chose a bag in a colour that goes with it. It’s a great way to add interest to what would otherwise be a sober outfit.

5. Let’s Talk Colour! Beware of black

Talking of colours, be warned about wearing black. It’s not the colour that fits all like some say. It’s not the jacket colour everyone must have, quite the opposite. It doesn’t suit everyone and rarely older women.  Yes, it’s a colour that conveys a lot of power, authority and even drama. It’s a good colour for a conservative office environment, but it can be overwhelming in a casual office environment. If it’s not in your colour range, it can make you look harsh, unapproachable and older!

Knowing which colours suit you is crucial.

If black looked great on you when you were younger, you need to soften it now you are older and wear charcoal instead. It makes a huge difference. Suddenly you will look more chic and more approachable.

7. Jewellery

When choosing jewellery remember it is another way to show your personality and maintain your individuality. ( Read: How to pick jewellery for an interview) Know longer necklaces can look great, but be careful with pearls. Avoid wearing a long single strand unless they are in a colour like gun metal, blue or purple. Single strand pearls if very short can look great but a long single strand of classic pearls can look dated on older women, so wear several strands at once.

Remember you want to keep your look contemporary

8. Good Grooming is Essential

Every expert will tell you that good grooming is essential, so a job interview is the perfect occasion for a new hairstyle or a smarter cut. Look how great Christine Lagarde, Head of the International monetary Fund, looks. The fact that her hair is grey doesn’t matter, with her up to date cut.  Many women look great with grey hair (Read: ‘Why are young women going grey’) but they must have a contemporary cut and wear clothes that are current and in their colour range. If you hair is long, gather it up into a neat up-do or low pony tail. Whatever the cut, you need to keep your hair off your face.

A pre-interview manicure is another must. It’s essential and the ideal nail shape is short, square or rounded at the edge. Clicky long pointy nails are a distraction. As for colour, the older you are the softer the colours should be. Go for a pale pink or light nude colour with a fashionable light shimmer. Our hands age quickly and so avoid bright dark colours that bring attention to them.

9. Find your own style

Remember, our clothes even the classic pieces we have, eventually need replacing from time to time. Cultivate your personal style, which by the time you have reached your 50’s, you should know but if you don’t, seek advice.

When you wear what suits you 100%, the confidence from getting it right radiates from you. This has a positive impact on everyone around you. It’s that confidence, along with looking current that will help you stand out from the crowd and get the opportunities you deserve.

How do you feel about your professional image? Do you worry it is holding you back?

Book an Introductory Professional Image Consultation

csoper Subscriber
Claire Soper is an Image Consultant trained by the British Investor in People award winning UK image consultancy Public I & House of Colour Ltd. Owner of CMS Professional Image Consulting, she is based in Brussels and has more than 10 years experience working with individual clients and corporations running regular training workshops. She has presented at the annual Jump Forum Brussels, the British Chamber of Commerce and is often featured in Elle Magazine Belgium. Her corporate clients include AIG insurance, DDP London, Swedish House, Chartis, Procter & Gamble, FMC Corporation, Wella Studios, Johnson & Johnson, Continental Airlines. Claire is running the 3Plus International’s Build your Professional Image and is available for personal image coaching and consulting.

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