How to look older to get a higher position at a young age

JJP1234's picture
Rank: Baboon | 166

Hey WSO,

I have an unexpected interview coming up for a director level position. I am right on the border of what they are looking for as far as experience.

Throughout my career I have been told I look young. Just the other day someone said I am the youngest on my team (I am not).

I clean shave everyday. I wear nice clothes and shoes, am 6'2" with an athletic build (190 lbs 9% body fat). I feel like my voice sounds young (as in 25-26, not 18 and not 35).

I know the easiest answer is to grow some sort of facial hair, but I have never in my life left it for more than three days and do not even know where to start.

Anyone else ever in a similar situation? Anyone land director positions at a young age? How did you overcome the age issue?

Comments (64)

Dec 9, 2015

Are you white?

Dec 9, 2015

Yes.

Best Response
Dec 9, 2015

start smoking cigarrettes

    • 2
Dec 10, 2015

I would hire the candidate who won't worry about these things.

You better see a doctor just in case you have the Benjamin Button disease.

Dec 10, 2015

Color your hair gray and wrinkle your face from now until then to get some crows feet going near your eyes.

Or don't worry about it, concentrate on kicking ass in the interview and sound confident and authoritative in your speech and how you hold yourself. And don't use speech fillers such as "like" and "you know" that younger people tend to use. And appreciate it if you look young and actually are the youngest person in the room. I advanced career wise pretty quickly and was always the youngest person in the room and then suddenly I wasn't and it sucked when I realized I was the old guy.

    • 1
Dec 11, 2015

OP should get one of those "Touch of Gray" hair dye kits.

Dec 12, 2015

No, no, no. The OP should start smoking 3 packs a day - immediately - anything less than that will make the OP look like he isn't committed to the position.

Dec 10, 2015

"I know the easiest answer is to grow some sort of facial hair, but I have never in my life left it for more than three days and do not even know where to start."

You don't know where to start when it comes to growing a beard? How about you just stop shaving? Growing a beard is not exactly a complex process. I worry that if you don't know very simple things such as growing a beard, you may not meet all of the hiring criteria for a director level position.

Just a thought.

    • 1
Dec 12, 2015

It's more about how you carry yourself than how you look. Be confident, calm, and speak with precision. Be succinct and knowledgeable. Be at ease in your own skin. That will carry the day. At its core, your interview is you selling the vision of yourself in that role. Make that vision really compelling.

If you do want to game the mechanics, read up on how to speak with a deeper voice:
- https://www.quora.com/Is-it-possible-to-develop-a-... - http://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/11/13/masculine...
-

- https://www.rooshvforum.com/thread-40495.html (got this on Google, looked around the site and it's one of those manosphere ones so know that going in)

    • 1
Dec 12, 2015

from what I have seen/heard from others yes this definitely makes a difference. perceived higher age potentially means more maturity, more trustworthy, more experienced, etc etc etc

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

    • 1
Dec 12, 2015

I would contradict the previous post, as I've found many people who are looking to break into the analyst position but who are older are often asked if they can keep up with 22 year olds. So may be a disadvantage for breaking in, but once you have the spot perhaps it does help you avoid the menial tasks

    • 1
Dec 12, 2015

true point about the keeping up bit, perhaps that matters more for FO then ops which I was working in. I think on some psycological perhaps others feel embarrased asking someone to do menial work or to make the tea if they think gosh this dude could be older then me. It really helped that my voice sounds older too. I was regularly working with ops guys in hedge funds and stuff, and I never implicilty told them an intern (hey if they dont ask) (even removed it from my email signature...) and they definatly respond to you a lot better. Most people thought I had been doing that stint for ages. Perhaps its worth just trying to devlop a more mature/older phone voice at least dont think it can hurt.

Dec 12, 2015

Yes, looking older does help - a lot!
Nobody wants to work with a kid that can't be trusted and has no experience.
Looking older makes people think you've been around for some time, you know things, and you'll do better.
But don't get into that too much because you'll get older anyway, long term is better to take care of yourself and take care of your health, hit the gym, eat healthy...

Dec 12, 2015

once you get in front of clients, it will help.

Dec 12, 2015

Totally helps. I unfortunately look younger so I picked up a pair of fake lense glasses. They are not trendy and look like something a 50 year old would wear. They have been golden for creating the perception of age and experience especially in front of clients.

Dec 12, 2015

You're an idiot

"The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word 'crisis.' One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger--but recognize the opportunity."

    • 1
Dec 12, 2015

Why apply for analyst positions just go straight for VP! If you look the part you can play the part.

Dec 12, 2015

Heard it helps. There's only a 3rd year associate and me (1st year analyst) on the team, and the associate looks like a freshman... And because I look more mature and am more outgoing, my boss had told me that he'd trust me in front of seniors and clients more.

Granted we were at happy hour and my boss was a little drunk, but I still believe him!!

Dec 12, 2015

Fuck I look young as shit (I am 23) and I hear that I could pass as a freshman in college. Shit pisses me off

Dec 12, 2015

If you are a girl, no.

Dec 12, 2015

Executive presence is the term you are looking for.

Dec 12, 2015

facial hair and shorter hair on top

Don't sleep as often so you get wrinkles quicker and baggy eyes.

Dec 12, 2015
yeahright:

facial hair and shorter hair on top

Don't sleep as often so you get wrinkles quicker and baggy eyes.

I have facial hair with the exception of interview days. After I got a short hair cut a contractor asked me if I owned the place when I was at my parents' house, which is way too big for a college student to afford. That is an improvement! However, young women still ask me what I am studying.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dec 12, 2015

Also, how short is too short? Is an almost shaved head ok?

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dec 12, 2015

I don't sleep much and I still have a baby face which is great because people set the bar lower than appropriate, making it easier to exceed expectations. Facial hair is definitely transformative but you could wind up looking like a homeless person.

Dec 12, 2015
Macro Arbitrage:

I don't sleep much and I still have a baby face which is great because people set the bar lower than appropriate, making it easier to exceed expectations. Facial hair is definitely transformative but you could wind up looking like a homeless person.

That's why I go with a well trimmed Van Dyke beard. However, it does take a lot of work to maintain.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dec 12, 2015

nice avatar

Dec 12, 2015
Macro Arbitrage:

I don't sleep much and I still have a baby face which is great because people set the bar lower than appropriate, making it easier to exceed expectations. Facial hair is definitely transformative but you could wind up looking like a homeless person.

What is best facial hair style for looking the oldest.

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dec 12, 2015

The way you carry yourself will offset some of your appearance. Dress like an adult.
Here's the breakdown of how people react to each other:
70% how you look
25% how you sound
5% what you're actually saying

Look at it this way, when you enter your 30's you can still hang out with 20 year old chicks and they won't know the difference. That's what I do.

Dec 12, 2015

Can you cite where this percentage breakdown comes from?

Dec 12, 2015

Why is this an issue? Use it to your advantage. People think young = stupid. It's your opportunity to surprise them.

Dec 12, 2015

@"DM", another way of looking at it is that people might have problems getting rid of preconceived notions (stereotypes). Malcolm Gladwell discusses this in "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking."

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." -- William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dec 12, 2015
D M:

Why is this an issue? Use it to your advantage. People think young = stupid. It's your opportunity to surprise them.

The issue is that people often form first impressions before you have an opportunity to prove yourself and these first impressions can be hard to get past.

I feel your pain, OP. I have a baby face and people automatically assume I'm just some young kid.

Dec 12, 2015
Silent Guardian:

what can I do to look older.

Shave the top of your head and leave it regular length on the sides. It will make you appear to be balding. You can't just shave your head because then you'll just look like a guy who shaves his head. That'd be crazy. Just make sure to shave the top every day or use Nair hair removal cream in the targeted area. Also, consider eating a lot of junk food and beer to get a little beer belly to complement the balding effect.

Problem solved. You're welcome.

Dec 12, 2015

I'm 21 and I look 29. Enjoy that shit, dude. I feel weird hitting on 19-year-olds.

Dec 12, 2015

@bic - If anything, you should lie and say you ARE 29. We love older guys haha

@SilentGuardian - I feel your pain. But at least you don't get stopped in airport security and asked where your parents are.....

Dec 12, 2015

I dont think anybody gets taken Very seriously when they start out.

Dec 12, 2015

You're lucky you're a girl...... try being a man while looking like a 16 year old.

Dec 12, 2015
ZonedOut:

You're lucky you're a girl...... try being a man while looking like a 16 year old.

I'm a guy who's 22 years old and 5'6, when I shave and keep my hair short I look like I'm 16...and I've had no problems in the workplace. It's all about how you carry yourself. If you let people treat you like a kid, then they will. I can't speak for girls, but if you're a guy, carry yourself like a man, and others will treat you like one. I feel like every time I go into an interview with a BSD I am fortunate enough to shatter their expectations of my professionalism, and it almost always turns into a positive experience. My point is, don't let how you look hold you back - because it will become a crutch, and you will begin to resent yourself for it. That's when eating disorders and plastic surgery take hold in your mind.

Dec 12, 2015

pics

Dec 12, 2015

TROLL

Dec 12, 2015

Apply for positions in Singapore or Thailand.

Dec 12, 2015

pics

Dec 12, 2015

Daaaaaaaaaaamn. Nothing wrong with that. That is all.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
Dec 12, 2015

Ignore them, and let your work speak for you. I started in operations in way back office when I was 16 and I was in the same situation. I excelled with my projects and daily tasks and it worked out.

Dec 12, 2015

Not a troll. I work at JPM in NYC.

The stuff about tall people getting hired over shorter people really bothers me...

Not stupid enough to put up real pics, but heres a reference:
http://t2.ftcdn.net/jpg/00/12/60/63/400_F_12606338...
Thanks for your advice though!

"Of course I'm a snob. Whats the point in aspiring to be mediocre?"

Dec 12, 2015

I'm in the same boat, ~30 with greying hair on the sides. I trim them a bit, but don't give them much thought really. Girls don't mind. I'm not going to die my hair even if they did.

Looking older definitely helps with your career. People are mentally prepared to pay you more and take you more seriously. I have friends who wear glasses even though they have 20/20 vision and act / dress 10 years older than they are. It makes a difference, but less so in the US and less so as you progress in your 30s. The grey hair look can work well. Check out Bill Ackeman of Perishing Square.

I'd say, relax and enjoy your youth.

Dec 12, 2015

Older people get laid off more, this is bullshit.

Dec 12, 2015
UFOinsider:

Older people get laid off more, this is bullshit.

well starting at what age? big difference in looking 50ish (where I imagine people start getting laid off?) but instead going from looking mid-late 20's to looking mid-late 30s i imagine could make a big difference, and looking more as if you are in the prime career age (ie best mix of expertise w/ energy/motivation)

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My Linkedin

Dec 12, 2015

I eat success for breakfast...with skim milk

Dec 12, 2015

re: your original post
Chill, girls don't mind and it's very easy to tell when men dye their hair because it just looks weird, so you wouldn't be making it any better. Even more, gray hairs in men are hot.

Embrace and age gracefully, what else is there to do? Pretend you are 17 forever?... sad.

(Chic advice 101)

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it" - Voltaire

Dec 12, 2015
zira:

re: your original post
Chill, girls don't mind and it's very easy to tell when men dye their hair because it just looks weird, so you wouldn't be making it any better. Even more, gray hairs in men are hot.

Embrace and age gracefully, what else is there to do? Pretend you are 17 forever?... sad.

(Chic advice 101)

"easy to tell when men dye their hair", really? An older man sure I could see, but a 30something guy you'd never suspect it.

re: "gray hairs in men are hot." hope all women agree with you :)

What is the answer to 99 out of 100 questions?

Dec 12, 2015

I'm 23 and noticeably grey. Started going grey at sge 12. Will be dying my har soon.

Dec 12, 2015
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Dec 12, 2015
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Get it!

Dec 12, 2015