January 21, 2013

The Hazards of Faking it

As a mature age job seeker, I've found the internet to be a great source for gathering the tips that help to create an age neutral resume. This can get a mature jobseeker in with a fighting chance among - young and shiny - 20 and 30-something (give it to us now AND for twice the salary) applicants.

Websites like Adage advise on excluding specific timeline clues that enable recruiters to carbon-date you as Whistler's Mother, or an Elgin Marble. So birthdates, graduation dates, and industry experience that extends beyond 10 to 15 years (into the pre-light bulb age) should be eliminated. 

Thankfully, from my late bloomer completion of a university education, I have a 2012 graduation date on my Bachelor Degree certificate (a consequence of being an early-adopter uni drop-out.) So in this instance I manage to beat the system and give the impression that I'm a swinging hipster ....cruising through their gap year.

CV whispering

It's said that listing children and their ages on CVs can also engage or repel employer interest. I don't have children. I expect however, that most recruiters presume people of my vintage do.  Therefore, to lighten my "age loading" (by suggesting I'm a yummy mummy), would it be ok to highlight the 3 year old dependent I do have and omit that it's a four-legged, 7 kilo mutt?  

Now why haven't I thought of this before? It's creative resume writing. And after all, recruitment panels know - that during interviews - it's a definite no no to ask an applicant about marital status, off-spring output, nervous ticks, and other associated afflictions.

The short list

So with a bit of tweaking here and there, my resume has managed to get me short-listed for numerous roles, and then eventually invited to attend interviews in person. In person! 


That means, resume-me must match the real, walking and talking, mid-life "climate-change"? ...(marvellously?) menopausal-me. Oh dear! Resume-me has just celebrated her 35th birthday, wears head to toe pleather, and is a relatively "young" spunk. Real-me has embraced comfy shoes, HRT, being "fabulous at 45?", and is more your "mellowed, mature aged vintage punk" ...oops! I mean SPUNK.


WMS (Whistler's Mother Syndrome)

And - while I don't see myself as an Elgin Marble - I do draw some comparisons with Whistler's mother, in that I like to be photographed from the same angle that Madam Whistler was painted. 

Actually I think the reason I'm still a frequent flyer at job interviews (instead of frequent employee) is due to WMS (Whistler's Mother Syndrome). And what's so wrong with that? ...Well nothing if you ARE Whistler's mother, or even a cousin of his - and living in the nineteenth century - when matching permanent pressed outfits with permanent pressed complexions was a non-issue. And the only skill-set ye olden days recruiters cared  for - most likely involved plucking a pheasant, baking a pigeon pie, darning the odd sock, embroidering a few doilies, and lighting a few lamps upon nightfall. Perhaps someone over at the ABC could FACT CHECK that please?! 


Identity crisis

Fast track to now, and those with WMS are also experiencing a case of Catch-22 ...far too often.  

How so? 

Well, when recruitment people read our fabulously "age-neutral" applications (favoured by nubile Job Services Australia "employment coaches"), and then call us in for an interview, is it no wonder potential employers assume they'll be interviewing an applicant who's at least 10 years younger? They don't expect to see someone just a little "more mature" waiting in reception. ....That is, someone like Mrs Brady, in place of a preferred, late model Emma Stone clone?  

The writer of a weekend newspaper article, affirms that these days we are more likely to be interviewed by people in their 20s and 30s, than those of a certain age.  This is when a Jenny Macklin funded, makeover guru/plastic surgeon/wizard would come in handy. And so, with no Gok Wan on hand, I've mined Googlesphere, for some instant fix "makeover" solutions ....


1. Don't Do a Mrs Brown

When it comes to attending job interviews, style experts emphasize that we mature types don't sabotage interview success with a visual image that looks dated and dowdy (think Mrs Brown in the Mrs Brown's Boys TV series).

2. Get Hip

To project a youthful resume-you, rather than a: "Frankly Scarlet who gives a damn you" (and looking like you've wandered out from a medical facility)Lori Robinson (LA image consultant), recommends going for a "modernized hipster business wear" look. What the ... ?! Who is she kidding? However a mature Girl With The Dragon Tattoo look, might just be the way to suggest you have the same crack IT skills as that auspicious damsel? The look is partially achievable with the Target store's pleather range. I've purchased mine. And if you want to go the whole hog, I recommend strategically affixed fake tattoos (from your local Priceline).

3. Remember That Aubergine & Taupe Are Your Friends

Robinson says, that to convey how energetic, enthusiastic and youthful we are, we should look current, rather than trendy. In short, tailored clothes are essential in "varying hues of grey, navy, indigo, a quiet aubergine, a nuanced taupe." I have nuanced taupe shoes, which unfortunately match my nuanced taupe teeth, and not my handbag. And on my $35 a day budget, I refuse to buy another one, to add to the mountain of bags I already have (thanks to the Salvos Store's ongoing supply of excellent cast-offs, from cashed-up, job-rich, decluttering obsessed, consumerist dames).

4.  Four Eyes Rule
Eyewear can be tricky when putting together a mock hipster look. Do we go with the clean, uncluttered look, enabled by contact lenses? Or, do we follow the lead of a few ABC and SBS female news readers who I've noticed lately wearing glasses?  A huge step for Budget Specs, and equally massive step for womankind.


However one stylist insists that rimless or wire-rimmed spectacles, can be ageing and scream GRANDMOTHER!! (who would have known?) - and suggests modern acrylic frames.


So last week, along with new groovster frames, I picked up prescription sunglasses. Now these really do make me look Melbourne International Film Festival hip - even Cannes Festival hip, and cool as - but would I get away with these in an interview? - I think not. But heck, it's worth a try.

And finally, according to one stylist, injecting a Madelaine Albright edge into your outfit (with a subdued brooch or cuff bangle) can apparently indicate to interviewers that: you can think outside the box and be a TEAM player. What?

I had never before considered jewellery as an influencing factor at interviews, that - using real estate parlance - can create instant curbside appeal. A hammered metal cuff (and perhaps gold tiara) would probably therefore nail it.  Excusez mon jeu de mots!


Styling Service Without Borders Empowers Job Seekers

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1 comment:

  1. Great to find your blog via Hoopla.

    As an early forty-something interviewer, I'm looking for people with experience, runs on the board, the ability to actually do the job without constant supervision, praise, and without needing to be told to get off the bloody internet in work time! I see resumes and applications written by young poseurs who are very good at spinning boastful lines, but I want more than that, or I'll just have to do their job for them, and I'm old enough not to have to do that any more. Bring on the mature, capable workers!