You Might Need a Makeover

In continuation of our discussion of how to combat ageism, we will also continue our homage to Jeff Foxworthy.

• If you recognize your favorite work outfit on a rerun of The Nanny, you might need a makeover.
• If your glasses make you look like Aristotle Onassis, you might need a makeover.

But seriously folks, whether you like it or not, today's young people (read that, hiring managers) are very image conscious. It is pervasive throughout our society, and doesn't indicate a weakness on the part of a specific hiring manager. It's just how society works today. The best way to combat this is to work within it -- you'll get a job more quickly if you play within today's rules, rather than fighting against them.

Therefore, to combat ageism in person, you must be image conscious.


• If you haven't changed your hairstyle in 5 years, you need a makeover.
• Hairstyle, part deux, if the third of your hair farthest from your head sports a different color or different texture than the third closest to your head, you need a makeover.
• Hairstyle, part trois, if you have a standing weekly appointment with your hairdresser for a wash and set, you need a makeover.
• If you haven't updated your eyewear in 5 years, you need a makeover.
• If you have not recently experienced a total and spiritual transformation in your makeup application, you need a makeover. (No need to mention the dark lip liner faux pas.)
• If relatives mention how much you're looking like your mother, you need a makeover.
• If you wore a slip during your last 30 days of employment, you need a makeover.
• If you pride yourself on how comfortable and sensible your shoes are, you need a makeover.

Tip: Your clothing should be modern, fashionable and age-appropriate.
Extra Tip: No thick red claws at the interview.


• If you have a comb-over, you need a makeover.
Seriously, if you have a comb-over, you need a makeover.
• If your belt has started riding north of your belly button, you need a makeover. (If your belt acts as an underwire for your moobs, you need a makeover.)
• If your idea of an interview outfit involves a suit vest or a wifebeater-T, you need a makeover.
• If you wear cologne to work, you need a makeover.
• If you wear a bracelet or a pinkie ring to an interview, you need a makeover.
• If you wear suede shoes to an interview, you need a makeover

Tip: A buzz cut looks much more youthful than a comb-over.
Extra Tip: Shoes and belt should match, pants and socks should match.

Good luck with your Re-Image!


Ageism begins at 40

While the concept of ageism is fairly well known (and believed)(and accepted???) in the corporate world, my experience is that most people believe it happens to everyone else, but won’t happen to them. I’m going to bare my soul and lay it out that, yes, ComputerRecruiter herself has fallen victim to these face-saving, self-preserving delusions.

Oh, not me, I work out, have groovy glasses, skillfully camouflaged hair, and spend gazillions on facial salves and poultices. I can win the hiring-infant over with my hip-ness and my nimble use of a smart phone.

Yeah OK, that may work in person. The hurdle lies in landing that in-person audience. You need to make sure that nothing raises the ageism hackles before you come to the interview.

Here are some tips to help you nip that in the bud. Nip it, nip it, nip it!

• Have your resume reviewed by a young person – you want to use the latest in fonts and format, while keeping in line with the tone acceptable in your industry. Make skillful use of Word – to make the resume visually attractive, and signal that you are MS-Office-literate.
Remove the dates from your education. Unless it is a new degree.
• Show at max 20 years of work experience. Drop the prior assignments – leave them off unless they are the only things on the resume that make you qualified for the job at hand.
• Scour your resume for old words – data processing, supervisor, COBOL, programmer, etc.
• Get yourself a personal email address that does not include your birthday information. (OK, I don’t want to be cruel here, but the hiring-infant has been computer savvy since birth. They are used to ‘code’ – and appending your birth date onto your name was allegedly started by Fred Flintstone and definitely doesn’t meet Navajo-level security. Don’t blow the chance of an interview because You Are Not Smarter Than a Second Grader – who can quickly subtract 1961 from 2009 and come up with 48.)

Remember, we know that with age comes maturity that is invaluable in business situations. But all they know is that you may not have a command of the technologies they need you to use. So why waste time on a candidate with red flags right on the resume. Make them work to find a reason to reject you!

Next CR-time, deflecting ageism in person!


Stories of pain... and success

I receive an eNewsletter each Tuesday from Nick at www.asktheheadhunter.com. I had to share today's topic with my readers. Please, reach out to an unemployed friend in need!

Stories of pain... and success

Over the past few months, I received a string of e-mails from the wife of an Ask The Headhunter reader in Hawaii. Helen started writing to me last August when she found a collection of Ask The Headhunter columns and articles on her husband Greg's desk. She told me how Greg, in utter despair over a career crash and the inability to land a new job after a lengthy job search, just up and disappeared. Walked out the door and never returned.

Two weeks ago, Helen wrote me that Greg's body was found on a mountain hiking trail, an apparent suicide.

I've gotten to know Helen as best one can get to know anyone thousands of miles away via e-mail. Her story is just one of many that play themselves out on the ebbing and flowing tide of our economy. Some fare better than others, and some just can't survive. It's not easy to know what fortune will come to whom—or who can make it through these trials.

Read the rest of Nick's newsletter.


Really? DC?

I found this blog posting and thought it was interesting. I know that many mainframe developers are currently assignment-shopping -- perhaps stimulus projects are the Holy Grail. Full text reprinted below.

Looking for a job? Look for it in D.C.

The increase in government spending and the stimulus package are turning Washington, D.C. into a place to look for a job.

In many big US cities unemployment rate is a two-digit figure reaching as high as 17% in Detroit. However, there is an exception: Washington, D.C. (also including Northern Virginia, and parts of Maryland). Stimulus spending caused a boom in government jobs and has kept the unemployment rate down to approximately 6%, which is among the lowest in the country.

In the beginning of the recession, the D.C. metro area was considered the top place for job seekers to avoid due to manufacturing and construction industries that have been severely affected by the downturn. But Washington’s leading industry is the federal government expansion, which actually has to expand to remedy high unemployment and slow economy.

The expansion includes the fastest-growing homeland security division, which didn’t exist just a few years ago. And the recent stimulus package that Congress passed in February, helps to create a great number of new federal employee positions to oversee infrastructure projects spending, renewable energy grants, and many other things.

The more money is spent by the government, the more federal oversight needed to ensure it gets spent accurately and responsibly. It also means more academics to think it over, more policy-makers to create new policies, more lawyers to resolve conflicts, and more reporters to write articles about it, etc.

Of course, D.C. hasn’t been entirely unaffected by the downturn. The unemployment is slowly growing, but at a fraction of the rate of other metropolitan areas.


Does your email address warn 'Don't Hire Me!'?

You've spent dozens of man-hours researching prevailing resume trends, identifying your most impressive and marketable experiences, and polishing the language in your resume and coverletter until it sings. Maybe you've even dropped a few hard earned rupees on a resume expert and some career counseling.

You're networking, you're LinkingIn, you're working the job boards and the corporate boards until your carpal tunnel feels like a New Year's Day hangover.

So why are you negating all this effort by continuing to use your privatedancer@hothothotmail.com email address on your profiles and resume?

Is your email address sending a red flag, or at least a raised eyebrow, to the recruiter and hiring manager?

It's very easy to get a free email address with some facsimile of your name at gmail or hotmail or yahoo for professional use. Actually for less than $10 per year you can buy your own domain with at least one email box to use in your job search and for other professional needs.

Wouldn't john@johnquincyadams.com at the top of your resume send a much more appealing message to a future employer than ganjagary@yahoo.com?