When talking to a career guidance counselor, you will probably hear a range of helpful advice, including to choose a job that you love and to choose a job that will pay the bills. One important piece of information you may not hear from a career guidance counselor, however, is that your young looks may threaten to hold you back from achieving and excelling in the job that you want. That's right--looking younger than your age can actually hold you back when it comes to your career.
Career Guidance on Workplace Appearance
When it comes time to decide who to promote, employees consider a large number of factors. They consider the candidates' job experience, job knowledge and work ethic. They consider the candidates' ability to get along well with others and the candidates' ability to lead those under them. They also consider the candidates' looks. They aren't legally allowed to, but they do.
After all, when people think of someone in a position of leadership, they generally imagine someone who is slightly older, who has had the time it takes to gain work experience and job knowledge. Younger people are generally less experienced, no matter how talented they are. While this is certainly not always the case, it is what people expect.
Career Guidance: Manage Your Appearance and the Perception of Others
Therefore, people who look younger are often perceived to be less experienced, less knowledgeable and less worthy of respect by their coworkers and peers, whether they deserve this treatment or not. They are often mistaken as people of low status in a company or as people in need of career guidance. This can make leadership especially difficult for younger-looking leaders, no matter how much knowledge, career guidance and experience they have actually received.
While this challenge is not insurmountable, it is still a challenge that is worth keeping in mind as you seek career guidance for a future job. As a leader who looks younger, your job will likely be harder, no matter how much career guidance you receive.