Nursing can be one of the worst careers for getting judged based on your appearance. While it may not be a surprise that older women just entering nursing may face some age bias, things can be just as difficult for a young woman just out of nursing school. Regardless of what stage of your life you are in, here is what you can do to get employers to look past your age and to see the value you bring to the profession:
Early to Mid 20s
This early in your life, and fresh out of school, you can easily overcome age bias by continuing your education. Take some extra courses, such as those toward a bachelor’s degree or those that will allow you to work in phlebotomy or IVs. Having these extra skills shows that you are truly interested in your profession and that you are willing to keep learning and improving your skills. At this age, dress to impress by going strictly business. Wear a dress that is not very short or tight in basic colors and wear pantyhose and nice dress shoes. Cover any tattoos and take out all piercings except ears. Keep makeup and jewelry toned down and slick. Nails should be short and clean.
Mid 30s to Mid 40s
Keep your clothing and hair age-appropriate. If your hair is graying, color it a shade lighter than your natural color. Stick to soft makeup and colors and get plenty of sleep to reduce puffiness around your eyes. If your skin looks dull, get a facial to restore a look of radiance and health. Choose attire that is fashionable while still being professional and appropriate for your age.
Mid 40s and Older
At this age, it can be very difficult to start a new career. Use your experience to build an impressive resume. In addition, do not apply for jobs that may be too hard for you. Look at the position and ask yourself if you will still be able to perform it at 65 or older. If not, look for a different position. It is also a good idea to take some extra courses for certifications that will make you a more desirable employee. If you still have difficulty and can prove you have been a victim of age discrimination, get in touch with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Regardless of your age, never compare yourself to others of a different age and don’t volunteer to tell how old you are. Your employer should be interested in your knowledge and experience. Dress professionally and in a style that is age appropriate. Avoid excess jewelry, heavy makeup, long nails, and heavy perfume. Above all, keep a positive attitude. People of all ages often have to undergo many interviews before landing a job they want. Keep a confident attitude and don’t give up. You will eventually get the job you want.