Here’s a piece of what you missed on today’s webinar, Developing Your Personal Brand–the first step to landing a job.
On this topic of image let’s discuss some very specific issues related to age. We’re not talking about age discrimination per se but will discuss what your style, your look, your approach says about you in a culture that not only values youth but also is adopting work habits and technology at an ever increasing pace.
This is a conversation about age in the abstracted sense. About coming off as too young or too old. Not in chronological age but in style.
Your physical image has to accentuate your brand not detract from it.
If you look super young for instance, you need to be cautious that people take you seriously.
I’m reminded of that ‘70’s TV show, Doogie Howser. The character was a genius who graduated from medical school at 14. That’s taken to the extreme but I think it makes the point well. There’s not a lot of patients who are going to be comfortable with a physician, no matter how well trained or skilled, who’s still a juvenile.
So if you are blessed with a super young look, you’ll have to be very cognizant of what you wear, how you act and especially your language.
An absolutely put focus on your online persona.
Late last week, Obama’s speechwriter, John Favreau, who I think is 27, was embarrassed by photos on Flicker where he was partying with a cutout of Hillary—not the best light in which to present yourself. Apparently he had to make a formal apology but fortunately the future secretary of state has a sense of humor.
For people who are middle aged, the issue is magnified and more complex.
Here’s a handful of relevant personalities (Richard Gere, Sally Field, etc.) who have kept up with the times, who look current and relevant.
That starts with appearance. Remember that personal shopper we just discussed? Be sure to select someone who themselves seems contemporary. Maybe a few years to a decade younger than you are.
Your glasses, your haircut are all part of the deal here, so pay particular attention them. If you haven’t changed the frames on your glasses in five years, you need to get some advice and make some changes. Ditto with your haircut, particularly men.
Equally important is how you act, how up to date you are on technology and trends.
I’m faced with tests on this front every day.
Karen and I did a search for a very young CEO who was looking for an executive to run business development a couple of years ago. He text message me one day and I have to say, I felt like that was a test on his part to see if we knew how to text. We do. And we have for some time. But clearly he wondered.
If you are still resisting emailing from your mobile, you need to get with the times in order to be perceived as contemporary, relevant. The reality of the work week is that it’s more 24/7 than anyone would like and if you want to play in it, you need to both embrace it and learn to live with it. And demonstrate that image and that persona that is contemporary.