Want the Job? Shave the 'Stache
"I know that you've had it for more than 30 years, but if you want to be a serious contender in today's job market, you're going to have to shave off that little gray thing in the middle of your face," I told Jack Iannaccone, a 54-year-old New Jersey father of three who had been out of work for a year. His wife was blanching -- she'd never known him without his mustache. But still, producers at the CBS Early Show had sent me all the way from Los Angeles to New Jersey to help Jack get a job, so he took razor in hand and hoped for the best.
Your eyes couldn't help but be drawn to that silvery bar right in the middle of his face, and it shouted, "I could be your grampa!" rather than "I'm a hot, vital business phenom." I'm not kidding when I say it took 10-15 years off his look. In today's competitive job market, it's extremely important to look as fresh and hip as possible.
About two days after I worked with him, Jack ran into an old friend who said he looked amazing--like he hadn't aged in 20 years. They started talking, and voila! He not only offered Jack a job, but a partnership in his company. After some negotiation, Jack eventually accepted both offers, and is now happily employed as Managing Director – American Academy of OB/GYN & Infertility Nurses. We were just reunited to talk about his success on the Early Show.
Now of course, shaving the mustache wasn't the only advice Jack implemented. As I advise in my book, Career Comeback--Repackage Yourself to Get the Job You Want, I also showed him how to brand himself with a blog, and spiffed up his mostly gray business wardrobe with a brand new navy blue pinstriped Hugo Boss suit, a lavender Joseph Aboud shirt, a bright colored Missoni tie that brought it all together, and a pair of Cole Haan shoes, all courtesy of Zappos.com.
Jack will be the first to tell you that his new, fresh hip face and image gave him a fresh, hip attitude that potential employers couldn't resist. His story of being a middle-aged man who finally figured out how to land a great job in this troubled economy is so inspiring that still another professional field is opening up to him: that of public speaking.
Meanwhile, it took awhile, but his wife has finally gotten used to the feel of kissing Jack without the brushy, gray growth on his upper lip. She says she likes it just fine, and doesn't ever want to see it again.
Step by Step
Jack's physical makeover included:
--Shaving the mustache
--Cutting hair extremely close to de-emphasize bald spots (I tried to get him to shave his head, but that was going a bit too far.)
--Taking off the round, wire-rimmed glasses that also aged him.
--Selecting a dark suit color that provided contrast, rather than a medium gray that blends in
--Wearing a colored shirt, rather than plain white
--Choosing a strong, colorful, interesting tie that stands out and leaves a bold, vital impression, rather than an unmemorable tie that fades back.