I am a risk management extraordinaire…in other words, I’m in the insurance industry. I work mostly with the more complex insurance planning cases with business owners and professionals (doctors, attorneys, etc). I am 25 years old, but look like I am still in high school. I am very good at what I do, but this is a constant obstacle. My question is…how do I get around this obstacle?
Jay’s Answer: I’m assuming the problem is one of first impressions, since once you open your mouth people stop looking at you and starting listening to you. I’m also assuming that you dress and groom yourself professionally, and it simply looks like you’re dressing in your dad’s suit.
You have a number of ways to work with your appearance:
Use a professional stylist. They would help to create an appearance that “fits” your needs.
Play with it. Self-deprecate the situation – “My dad was busy, so he sent me” or “I just sipped from the Fountain of Youth…does it show?” or “I’ve been doing Insurance work half my life”.
Refocus it. People will judge you based on your appearance, so immediately focus on them. For example, “I’m a risk management whiz kid. What’s the best way I can help you?”
Clean up your image. People will search you out online. Make sure that your online photos reflect your professional appearance and aren’t “vacation” or “party” photos.
Relax. At 25 years old you may be much younger than your prospective clients (maybe closer to their childrens’ age) and that looking 25 won’t be much of a help. Simply identify yourself as your company’s specialist, and let that certification/confidence speak for you.