General Question

anartist's avatar

How important is a slim attractive, even sexy, appearance to someone trying to re-enter the job market at 65?

Asked by anartist (14725 points ) April 15th, 2012

I am considering trying to get a government job again at 65 after being retired for quite a few years. I have kept up and evened broadened creative skills. I know quite a few women who have made more of an effort to not “let oneself go” than I have. I look at all the sexually vibrant 50somethings on shows like NCIS as well as all the good-looking political candidates and high-profile professionals and wonder if this might be critical especially at my age, a difficult age to re-enter the working world anyway. Thoughts or experience?

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20 Answers

doublebad's avatar

A woman from my high school is an author. She releases her work and keeps her appearance to herself. I imagine she’s still beautiful. Her work is.

ro_in_motion's avatar

The two things I work on is my health and appearance. My health means that, among other things, I want to present myself as a non-smoking, fit and of an appropriate weight. As for appearance, I mean to say that I dress appropriately for the job I interview for. I hope this helps. Good luck!

anartist's avatar

@ro_in_motion right now I’d strike out on health. But you are right, of course.

jca's avatar

@anartist: Government jobs are not like regular jobs. You take a test usually, and there are civil service rules that govern hiring (based upon test results). So don’t worry about looking sexy. Worry about doing well on the test.

janbb's avatar

I think a professional appearance (and I know that’s a very ambiguous term) is more important when seeking a job at this age than a sexy one. I’m very lucky, I can wear New Balances and jeans if I want to my job at the college, but if I were interviewing for a library job, I would wear a dress (if I could dig one up) and low heels or ballet shoes.

Mariah's avatar

I’ll point you in the direction of this relevant article I came across yesterday.

john65pennington's avatar

I have lost from 254 down to 220 pounds. I would not give it a second thought to apply for another job at my age. An adendum to your question might be “would an employer be more likely to hire a slim male/female, rather than someone who is obese?” This, of course, would be discrimination, if it could be proven.

First impressions…......they mean a lot.

digitalimpression's avatar

It all depends on the job and the employer. Some employers look for “an overall employee” type. Some look for the skills that are relevant to the position. And still others will give anyone a chance if they pester them enough.

anartist's avatar

@jca Not really, in my case. I retired from government at well beyond the test-taking phase. The type of work I do I even know several of the people in the field [like say at Smithsonian] who are haven’t yet retired, although I have not necessarily seen them for quite a few years. And there is the likelihood I would be interviewed and ultimately [if lucky] be working for someone much younger.

@janbb appropriate dress for the interview is not really the issue. I certainly would not go to an interview looking unprofessional, By ‘sexy’ I guess I really mean ‘attractive’ and throughout most of my life I was startlingly so.

@john65pennington when one does not hire a fat person [or even an ugly or dowdy person for that matter], such reason is never given. It is basically unprovable. But it exists. Many years ago, when I was an intern, a Smithsonian assistant director said to a group of us interns during a discussion about how best to get a job after the internship: “fat people don’t get hired.” Of course nobody in the room was fat.

@digitalimpression I guess, even at my age, with my skillset, it could also be a matter of rapport with the potential employer. I don’t know what to do about “type.”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Not as important as a clean, polished appearance.

funkdaddy's avatar

I think it would be more important to appear vibrant and upbeat.

Think about the stereotypes that an employer would be worried about in hiring someone 65 or older and make sure you don’t give the impression of any that aren’t true.

As an example, imagine you were hiring someone you thought might be too young for a position. What things would you want to make sure weren’t going to be a problem before hiring them? You might want to make sure they took the job seriously, were prompt, polite, had adequate experience, etc.

As far as slim and attractive, the only jobs I’ve ever worked that didn’t have a variety of body types would be the ones that required a lot of activity. I tend to think “attractive” here would have more to do with effort and acknowledging things that “work” for you. Presenting yourself as “put together” probably has the biggest impact.

Good luck with your search.

YARNLADY's avatar

Looks are important at every age, especially for women.

2davidc8's avatar

Presenting a nice, clean, professional appearance is a plus for any job, any age, any sex.

YARNLADY's avatar

I used to be a receptionist, and when people came in for interviews, I could usually pick the ones who would get hired, even though I never heard their interview or saw their resume – simply by the way they looked.

janbb's avatar

I wonder if the question is really whether you feel less confident seeking a job now that you feel less stunning than you used to be rather than whether it will really affect your job prospects. I know I’ve lost a lot of the attractiveness that youth gave me but I like to think that poise and warmth have made up for that loss now.

rooeytoo's avatar

Good luck but I don’t have much hope for you. My husband has degrees and experience but no one will hire him. I have it a little easier, I have a trade and skill that is hard to find so as long as I can perform, I am desireable. If I were going to apply for a job outside of my trade I would lie about my age on my resume. I think that is the only way you are going to get a look. Let us know how this works out, I am curious what responses you will receive.

anartist's avatar

@rooeytoo just curious. What is your hard-to-find skill?

rooeytoo's avatar

heheheh, I am a really good dog groomer. There are a lot of groomers out there, but a good show type groomer is fairly rare. I can go anywhere in the world, walk into a grooming shop, do a dog for them and get a job. I don’t have to speak the language of the country because I speak the language of dogs! I know sounds strange but it is true. I don’t get rich, but I will never starve, well until I get too old to wrestle with the dogs!

anartist's avatar

@rooeytoo I believe you. I have a friend who is a dog groomer. Her customers follow her wherever she goes and she is planning to open her own business “Just Grooming”—I’m working on some publicity for her shop-to-be—brochure cover

she never said anything about doing show dogs, though. That sounds like a whole different ballgame with more high-strung dogs.

rooeytoo's avatar

@anartist – I love it, great approach.

Show dogs are like movie stars, although not necessarily more high strung, just that the job is more demanding. It is like sculpting but with hair instead of wood or stone. You have to hide the faults and make the dog look like a perfect specimen even if it is sickle hocked and easty westy with a saggy topline, long body and short neck, heheheh! I wish I could make my own hair look as good as the dogs I have done. And while the dogs are not any more demanding, the owners always are!

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