Looks and fitness help spell success for boomers facing a tough job market: think those decades of experience alone are enough to earn you that new job, client or promotion? Think again, in the cutthroat 21st century business world, the saying "age before beauty" doesn't necessarily apply.

Author:Marshall, Lisa
Position:HEALTH CARE SKIN DEEP
 
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"THE TRUTH IS, IMAGE MATTERS EVEN MORE IN BAD ECONOMIC TIMES," says University of Texas economist Daniel Hamermesh. Ph.D., author of the new book "Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People are More Successful," "In good limes, employers will take1 whoever they can gel. but in bad limes they can get and choose. And by and large, they tend lo choose people who are better looking."

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At a lime when unemployment remains high and aging professionals are trying to either re-enter the work force or hold onto jobs alongside much younger colleagues, a youthful, healthy image is more important than ever, say career counselors, corporate headhunters and economists. And in Colorado considered the "finest" slate in the nation the pressure is ultra-high. Well aware of this reality. baby boomers arc (locking lo plastic surgeons, joining the gym and shaving off pounds in hopes of boosting their competitive edge.

"I hear it almost on a daily basis from patients." says Dr. Paul Zwiebel, a Highlands Ranch plastic surgeon who like his colleagues across the country has seen a significant uptick in business in the past 18 months, as jobs have begun to open up, "People feel that in order to compete for a job or1 even for job retention, they have to maintain a youthful look."

According lo the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 1.9 million people age 55 and older were looking for work in 2012, the lowest number since March 2009. Trouble is. 7.5 million people age 25 to 54 were also looking for jobs that month, and statistics consistently show that the older the applicant, the1 longer the job hunt. On average, according to BLS, people 55 lo ()4 spend 57 weeks looking for employment while those 25 to 34 look for about 34 weeks.

"Older white males in particular have a lot of difficulty finding a job."' says Kaila Wilkes, an alumni career counselor al University of Denver. "Employers might think, 'Well he was making a higher salary than I want to pay, or he might leave sooner than I would like, or perhaps he has some health problems that could inerea.se our premium.'"

In this environment, Wilkes says, an updated wardrobe, freshened hair color, and leaner a frame can't hurt.

THE BEAUTY PREMIUM

Study after study confirms that, right or wrong, good looks pay when comes to landing a job or climbing the corporate ladder.

One 2010. Newsweek survey of 202 corporate hiring managers found that, 47 percent believe an unattractive but qualified candidate will...

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