NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS.
While you are looking for a job take a break from the news. The news is often depressing and adds nothing of benefit to your life. Instead of watching CSI Miami or Desperate Housewives, take the time you save---about 14 hours a week if you only watch two hours a day---and do something useful. Enroll in a class to learn PowerPoint, read motivational books, study up on your industry or set up a Facebook page. Make every minute of your time productive in some way, either personally or professionally.
YOUR OWN EXTREME MAKEOVER.
Look at some magazines that feature “makeovers” to see just how much you can change your life with diet, exercise, fashionable clothes, better makeup, a new haircut and a positive mental attitude. Oprah and More magazines run makeovers of regular people all the time. Men’s Health, and occasionally GQ, do the same for men. Seeing how dramatically regular people can change their looks is encouraging.
When you look at the “before” and “after” photos of people who have lost weight and toned up, the first thing almost everyone notices is how much younger the person looks. It changes your entire appearance from tired and worn out to youthful and vigorous. Doing your own makeover can be a life-changing act that will not only help get your career back on track but will open up opportunities you can only dream of happening.
When Marie Osmond and Valeri Bertinelli lost weight and got fit their entire careers were revitalized. It’s a story you hear over and over again from people who have found the will and done the work to make themselves over into the beautiful people they are inside.
YOUR SMILE IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION.
Now is a good time to go to the dentist for a good cleaning and checkup. A bright smile helps project youth and vitality. Teeth whiteners may be necessary if you drink coffee or wine. Age tends to dull teeth as well. During a first meeting, your smile and handshake are your two most powerful “calling cards.”
Re-evaluate your hair style too. Is it contemporary? Long hair, sometimes favored by Baby Boomers, is viewed more negatively than not in most professions. Ironically, if your hair is thinning keeping it short gives the illusion of having more hair. If you’re a guy with male pattern baldness, or very thin hair, you may want to go the Bruce Willis route. Very short hair or none at all is “hip” now among guys of all ages.
If your hair is grey you may as well shout “old” from the rooftops. Grey hair may look sophisticated or elegant but it does not say “young.” Consider getting it colored or use a product like Just For Men to reduce the amount of grey.
Facial hair is also viewed negatively by a sizeable portion of people. Now is not the time to have any negatives on your side. Consider ditching the moustache and/or beard. You’ll look younger with a clean-shaven face. Women too.
NIP AND TUCK.
While some people might object, being out of work is an excellent time to have a “little work done” too. If those sagging jowls, tired eyelids or wrinkled skin make you look old (of course it ---does), perhaps now is the time to engage a good cosmetic surgeon to take a few years off your looks. Keep it conservative though; you don’t want to pull a Michael Jackson.
LOOKS COUNT---AS IN THE NUMBER OF YEARS PEOPLE THINK YOU’VE BEEN ALIVE.
It’s sad to say, but dozens of studies have proven that people who look better are considered more intelligent, capable and personable. So, you should do what you can to improve your looks. First impressions are made within 10 seconds in most cases. Be sure your first impression is a good one.
On the other hand, don’t obsess about how you look. You don’t need to look like Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johannsen---just the best version of yourself. In fact, extreme good looks can be as big a detriment as extremely bad looks.
While you’re making yourself over, drop some bad habits as well. If you are one of the four adults who still have not gotten the message about the harm of smoking, now is the time to give it up. Smoking decreases your stamina, wrinkles your face, and seriously degrades your health---not what employers are looking for these days. Signing up for a good smoking cessation program will reap a lifetime (literally) of benefits.
GET RID OF WHAT’S HOLDING YOU BACK.
Likewise, if you have anger management, gambling, drinking or drug problems, now you have the time to rid yourself of these bad habits. It can only help your career---and your life.
BUILD A PLATFORM FOR SUCCESS.
These days it’s important to create a “platform” that contributes to your “personal brand” in order to stand out from the masses of job seekers. What sets you apart? What skill have you developed that no one (or few) others possess? What “style” reflects your personality best?
Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs has a clearly defined “brand” image. He’s a Baby Boomer who dresses in jeans and turtlenecks, wears stylish glasses and has trimmed his balding head into a “hip” short haircut. He is a bold and dynamic leader and has learned to be an effective communicator. He neatly reflects the same image as he wants his products to project. He’s older but he’s not “old.” His “brand” is drastically different from that of other contemporaries like Bill Gates and Michael Dell.
Your “platform” drives your “brand.” Decide how you want to be perceived and then add the building blocks to create your personal style, skill-set, personality and charisma. Branding yourself based upon a platform of truth, unique skills and personal style is a key ingredient to becoming successful. In a job interview it will set you apart from dozens of other candidates who have no brand identity. You want to do everything possible to give yourself an “edge” over your competitors and a clearly defined “brand image” will do that.
President Obama has a clearly defined branded personality. He is a charismatic speaker, dresses professionally, almost never reacts emotionally or in anger, is a best-selling author, is confident, has a good sense of humor, is gracious, thoughtful and highly educated. His “brand” beat out the other candidate (whose “brand” wasn’t as defined or as strong) for the job as president.