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Job Hunt 2014: Dress For Success To Get Beyond HR

Competing with 30-somethings for work is depressing. So what if they have flawless skin, hair and teeth and, oh yeah, those dazzling social media skills. We have flawless resumes with genuine experience (anyone can buy great skin, hair and teeth) plus dazzling people skills (real people! face to face!)... and we can spell. However in the end the right packaging is what just might push your little well-shod foot through the door.  Ya' gotta fit in. If 2013"²s job hunt was a downer, these five tips will get you moving upward fast:

LJJ in Sheath Dress
Today's job-hunting suit? A sheath like the one Lois models

TELL A NEW STORY. Wise up babes, most recruiters are much younger and trendier than us. Today a "suit" is a standout body-skimming high neck dress (think Michelle Obama). Buy something new and leave your vintage designer duos in the closet. A tailored A-line, sheath or fit and flare dress in a stretch blend is shapely not stuffy. Sleeveless is more youthful, so are bare legs but don't fall for that unless you live in a warm climate. In that case a light self-tan from head to toe erases all inhibitions. Blizzard? Freezing cold? Add a buttery soft tailored leather jacket or make that dress one with sleeves. Stay chic but cozy in tall leg-clinging stretch suede or microfiber boots and wear toned-to-match tights. And always leave your down coat, trench or shearling in the reception closet.

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BE IN THE KNOW. You don't have to mimic a fashion model, just look fresh, polished and updated. If possible schedule a blow-out and department store makeup application right before your interview. Keep makeup neutral but newsy. Swap a grey liner for your usual black,  plum for everyday brown and oomph up the nude lips to a sheer  pink or berry hue that de-ages lips and gums. Take a speed-course in social media now. It's the most essential tool for working women  - use Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to enhance your online profile.

SELL YOUR BRAND WITH ACCESSORIES. Headhunters and potential bosses check your feet and haul-all bag first and last. A medium size quality leather bag and classy low heels can make or break it for you. Right now D' Orsay curvy contoured pumps  are best update for basic nude or black heels. Use the Hermes Birkin bag and Chanel 2.55 as role models and find  similar knockoffs. Wear a statement necklace and cool glasses that say you're fearless, fashionable and can make gutsy choices. They project an in-the-moment vibe.

COLOR IN PERSONALITY. Stand out in the dead of winter by wearing a soft neutral like ivory, sand, or camel or a vibrant high energy color like red or gumball pink. Sure black is basic but you won't be as memorable. The former tints subtly warm up tired, lined, pasty skin and work well together. The latter demand attention and project enthusiasm and a cheery attitude on days you need it most.Either way you can't lose.

FIX THE STUFF. Why during interviews are we always facing the windows so every flaw shows? Do your maintenance work. Nab stained teeth, roots and chipped uneven nails the day before with a pro whitening (and use at-home strips to freshen between!), touch-up the grey or dark regrowth and get a mani. Pull on a full-body shapewear slip or thigh-length bodysuit and suck up the slack you gained since New Year's (and yeah, we all slipped!)

Now,  go get'um!

For more beauty & style tips for women 50+ check my book The Wardrobe Wakeup, Your Guide to Looking Fabulous at Any Age by Lois Joy Johnson ($14.55,

Photo courtesy of Lois Joy Johnson

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