People are living longer and therefore they are working later in life, except for the lucky Freedom 55ers.

And of Canadians who have recently retired, nearly one third of them have decided to return to the work force for financial reasons.

If you are over 50-55 years of age and find yourself looking for a new employment opportunity, it is vitally important that you pay extra attention to how you look, how you present yourself, and to your communication skills and your attitude.

Go down the list and check off any faux pas items that you’re making and commit to improving on your weaknesses this year. Give yourself every advantage on the job market to make bold career moves in 2014!

The most common interview mistakes older workers make

  • Keeping your winter boots on instead of changing into shoes
  • A poorly groomed or outdated hair style or uncoloured roots
  • A droopy moustache
  • Hair sticking out of the ears, nose and beyond the brow line
  • Unplucked eye brows
  • A pale or unhealthy looking pallor
  • Red gums
  • Green teeth
  • Wearing too much make up or nothing at all, and you should be
  • The over use of cologne or after shave – many companies have a no scent policy
  • Poor posture, sit up straight and walk with purpose and confidence
  • Unshined shoes or run down heels on your shoes
  • Dated clothing such as ties the wrong width or pattern, a cravat, bolo, largely patterned blouses, old footware or sandals
  • Bringing an old style brief case
  • Clothing that’s actually too youthful such as patterned hose, dangly earrings, body piercings, knee high boots, lycra clothes, sockless shoes
  • Wrinkled clothing, except for linen, even then, don’t wear linen to an interview
  • Referring to your last admin assistant as “my girl”, or using “girl” at all in reference to anyone over sixteen
  • Referring to what you “used” to do, and now it isn’t being done any more or “you won’t remember this but…”
  • Saying, “in the olden days…” or “a million years ago…”
  • Telling SAR stories (Situation | Action | Result) that are more than 3-5 years old
  • Not making eye contact
  • Saying phrases like “as you would have read in my resume…”
  • Talking about your grown children or grandkids
  • Not embracing change
  • Fidgeting
  • Too stoic
  • Not knowing yourself well enough to talk about yourself, your skills and accomplishments easily

Take a real good, unbiased look in the mirror, ask for some honest advice from a trusted friend and observe other people your age. Pick out folks you find attractive and confident and adjust yourself accordingly.

When it comes to retail and hospitality jobs, seniors actually have an advantage on the job market over the entry-level teens and twenty-somethings who would traditionally fill these roles.

This is because many employers view them to be more professional and customer-service oriented than their younger competition. Also, after many years on the workforce, seniors are more likely to have honed their job interviewing skills and have much more robust resumes. Just keep your technical and cultural knowledge, and your look up-to-date.

Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer

Author of Networking How to Build Relationships That Count, How to Get a Job and Keep It

Co-author of The Power of Mentorship; The Mastermind Group