In this tough economy, everyone is suffering, but it seems that the freshly-graduated and near-retirement crowds are in the toughest position. Few employers want to invest time in fledging workers, but at the same time, they (perhaps unnecessarily) shy from the potential risks of taking on an older worker.

So if you’re in your 40s or 50s and trying to attain a new position, how can you have the edge to make the right impression? Well, of course, much of that depends on your skills in the field and those at the interview table, but some of these tips can give you a confidence boost to improve your chances of gaining the desired outcome.

First off, there is absolutely nothing wrong with working on your appearance to give off a sense of youth and vigor. Only you can decide what measures are right for you, but touching up grays and investigating Botox or other anti-aging techniques are worthwhile pursuits preceding a big interview.

Make sure to address any other major hair or skin concerns in order to keep from having any dampers on your confidence–or your interviewer’s initial impression of you. Ladies, please make an appointment with your stylist to update your hairstyle if you haven’t done so. An ’80s-era coif will immediately scream that you–and your ideas–are outdated.

Should your looks so strongly influence your ability to be hired? Of course not–but unfortunately, human nature dictates that first judgment typically comes from our eyes!

It’s a good idea for anyone to whiten his or her smile sometime in the week before the big interview. If you’re using an over the counter method, you should start even sooner. But if you have little time to do it on your own, then a short appointment with your dentist should get the job done. After all, nothing starts an interview off right like a firm handshake and a dazzling smile.
If it’s been awhile since you entered the job market, then it’s time to review and renew your resume. Because of the current economic crisis, you can find resume critiquing workshops across the country, especially in colleges, so keep your eyes peeled for such events at your local campus. Professionals appearing there will be happy to provide their expertise to make sure you are prepared and up-to-date.

While potential employers will certainly value your experience in the field, you should also emphasize your willingness and ability to learn. Especially in industries where technology is rapidly advancing, it is vital for every worker to keep up, and if the interviewer thinks you’re stuck in your ways, you likely won’t land the position you hope for.

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