Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
tmkm
Posts: 36
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:06 pm

Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby tmkm » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:27 pm

Hello,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question so please feel free to move the topic accordingly...

I'm a 26 year old Asian American male. I've been working in a corporate setting for about 3 years now and have experienced situations where my youthful appearance has affected the way employers and clients have initially viewed me. I'm 5'11 and have a pretty lean build. I don't grow much facial hair either. I've been frequently mistaken for being someone in his late teens to early twenties and feel like this will continue to be the case until I hit middle age...

I know that especially with client interface, one's appearance is extremely important. If you as a representative look too young, then the client by default ends up seeing you as a less credible source...

That being said, does this already disadvantage me come OCI? Also, has anyone personally gone through this type of situation before?

Any tips? Advice?

Thank you.

User avatar
jn7
Posts: 156
Joined: Tue Jun 25, 2013 3:33 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby jn7 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:33 pm

Sorry for not really contributing or helping you with this problem, but realistically is there anything you can really do? Stop sleeping and develop eye bags and wrinkles?

You look how you look just run with it!

User avatar
Emma.
Posts: 2401
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 7:57 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Emma. » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:35 pm

Won't matter at all. Just make sure you put some care into dressing like a grown up (well made, well fitting clothes) so your clothes don't compound the issue.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:43 pm

As an AA female who knows exactly what you're talking about--and who is frequently thought to be a few years older than her actual age--I think the best thing you can do is to pay attention to your presentation. Always look very polished -- good shoes, no wrinkled clothes, clear skin, NICE HAIR. I think the last one says a lot. Nothing like a spikey crew cut or buzz cut to make you look like a teenager. Bottom line is that even if you're face makes you look young, if your presentation is very polished and CONFIDENT, then you're going to inspire others' confidence as well regardless of how old you look. ACT mature and you will come across as more mature.

Confidence, maturity and professional presentation aside, people just look different. Change what you can and don't worry about what you can't.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:47 pm

I'm in a similar situation-- 25-year-old Asian guy who still occasionally gets carded for rated R movies. Here are some of my scattered comments:

-I had no problems with OCI-- did about as well reasonably expected based on school/grades/softs. Interviews went smoothly and I never felt that I was treated differently. I didn't have any problems at my SA either-- I didn't have much client contact, but the few times I did (on a pro bono project), I was treated as professionally as any of the full-time associates.

-Something that I think does help is having clothes that fit. Having an ill-fitting oversized blazer is only going to accentuate your youth and make you look like you borrowed daddy's suit. Make sure that your suit fits properly across your shoulders and through your chest, and that your collared shirts do as well (i.e., extra slim fit, steer clear of brands that run large, etc.). This may require tailoring or other alterations-- I know I always need extra-long sleeves on my shirts/jackets, for instance. Good posture also never hurts.

-I wouldn't worry too much about appearing too young in front of clients. Junior associates don't interact too much with clients directly (unlike, say, in consulting), and you'll have plenty of opportunities to prove yourself through your work product with senior associates/partners.

-I would be careful not to worry too much about this. Insecurity only makes the problem worse. Control what you can, don't worry about the rest.


ADD: so what the posters above said. I do what to emphasize the rest of the presentation advice-- make sure you understand what is appropriate in the business setting. Ties that are too wide/narrow, clunky shoes, wearing a backpack to work, etc.-- all faux pas that will emphasize the wrong thing.

Poopface
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:03 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Poopface » Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:45 pm

Haha wearing a backpack to work...so juvenile.. which is bs tho because it's the most comfortable way to carry shit that you need. Cmon old people..get it together backpacks > briefcases

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:22 pm

I find this is pretty inconsistent (AA Male, 28) I will get carded for movies but then most of the time I don't get carded for alcohol... The other day I complemented a lady on her baby and she told her kid to say hi to "older brother," I had to apologize to her and tell her my daughter was older than hers. It really comes down to how you dress and hold yourself I've found.

Wear a nice suit, don't cover up the gray hairs (which I have plenty of working full time and going to school) and just exude positive energy. If they think your young at least it will be full of energy and enthusiasm that they can put to work.

Pokemon
Posts: 1861
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:58 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Pokemon » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:40 am

Not a problem as long as you do not compound on the issue by not being dressed appropriately or something along those lines.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:12 am

A lot of people here are giving good advice. I have a similar problem, except I am a really short female, and people still think I am in college despite being 29. Just know that tons of people are in a similar boat, so you're not alone.

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:05 pm

Not sure about guys, but as a girl, yes it can.
Mid-twenties Asian Female often mistaken for a high school student... I was told by a mock interviewer to grow out my bangs and get a better suit. You want a fitted suit, black hair (no dyed hair), and no weird hairstyles.

lakers180
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:11 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby lakers180 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:07 pm

eat lots + gym if you wanna look older get bigger

Anonymous User
Posts: 273401
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:28 pm

Dressing like a grown-up helps - like fitted suits, know the proper rules to dressing formal, etc.

How you carry yourself matters a lot more than how you look, just saying.

TooOld4This
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:09 am

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby TooOld4This » Sat Feb 08, 2014 9:51 am

Ahhh, the memories.

If you aren't careful it can hurt. Maturity is what employers are looking for. Looking young is only an issue to the degree that it paints a picture of immaturity.

As others have mentioned, clothes are a big part of it. You need a well fitted, conservative suit. You are much better off getting a suit on sale at Macys or Jos A Bank and spending some money on tailoring than buying a higher quality suit and not tailoring it. Do not get anything trendy. Also stick with navy or charcoal.

Women, the same applies. Stick with conservative suits. Watch the fit carefully. You don't want to look like you've borrowed your mom's, but your suit should not be tight. When you sit, your skirt should not pull more than an inch or two above your knees. Women can also use makeup to look older (but this can go very wrong if you don't do it right).

Voice and inflection is another thing to watch. I see this especially in women for some reason. It is hard to take you seriously if you sound like you are 12. While you are unlikely to see clients for a long time, you are much more likely to talk to them. Some common things I've heard: every sentence sounds like a question, yeah, you know, um (so often it is distracting), tone like you are kicking it with friends after a game, overcompensating bravado.

Everyone's goal should be to come off as a mature individual who can be trusted to have good judgment and to take their work seriously. Physical appearance can create a first impression, but that impression is only partially influenced by your actual body. Much more is how you dress and carry yourself. Even if you do skew young, your interactions with the interviewer are more important -- unless they reinforce the impression that you are not just young, but immature.

joblawl
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:48 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby joblawl » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:07 pm

Every 20-something looks young to partners in their 60s. Looking slightly younger than the other people that are interviewing will only hurt you if it psyches you out. They wouldn't be interviewing law students if looking young was a problem.

But as others have said, carrying yourself as a professional and wearing clothes that fit properly will overcome any harm caused by youthful good looks.

User avatar
Ron Mexico
Posts: 13536
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby Ron Mexico » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:08 pm

Drink heavily and smoke cigarettes.

911 crisis actor
Posts: 207
Joined: Sun Nov 17, 2013 3:03 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby 911 crisis actor » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:24 am

Every time you meet with the client, identify the youngest looking person in the room and punch him/her in the face; continue fighting until he or she is incapacitated. This will prove that though you look young, you are a tough lawyer who can be trusted with important client matters.

anonymous2012
Posts: 82
Joined: Sat Oct 20, 2012 5:04 pm

Re: Will looking young hurt my job prospects? Solutions?

Postby anonymous2012 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 6:11 pm

Pedo-stache




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.