That title is probably a poor choice of words, but I hope you know what I mean! If you’re on the far side of 45, how can you spruce up your image and compete against all those young-uns out there? I know it doesn’t seem fair, but you have to face the truth. When you start to look old, people will assume you probably also have out-of-date skills and rusty attitudes. And that can be the death-knell to careers these days. I recently spoke on this topic to a group of older jobseekers and shared six tips that can help them – and you – stand out in the sea of younger job hunters.

Start by taking a look within. That will often reveal what needs to change on the outside. Think of it as a study of your “inner image”. A colleague of mine, Brenda Kinsel, shares the following exercise in her book, Brenda’s Wardrobe Companion. The book may focus on building wardrobes, but this exercise is a great way to start fresh on many levels.

Before you can define where you want to get to, you first need to describe where you’re starting from. Make two columns and label the left one “Moving Away From” and the right one “Moving Toward.” Think about your current situation in life/work and start listing what isn’t working for you right now. What’s frustrating you, bugging you? Are you feeling trapped, tired, invisible, old? That’s what you want to move away from.

Now think about what you want to move toward. When you visualize your dream life or job, what do you see? Think expansively! Are you picturing yourself confident, powerful, happy, employed? Give yourself the gift of time and let the dreams for yourself flow out of you.

The next step is to start to think strategically about your wardrobe, behavior, and communication skills. What new choices can you start making now that will reflect that “moving toward” image of yourself? The next five tips will help you in that effort.