Will tattoos stop you getting a job? You are more than your appearance – we all know that. When you’re “on the job hunt” you should be focusing on your communication skills, your talents and strengths – not what you look like, right?
Well, maybe not! How you look is also often assessed by people – but that doesn’t mean you need to look like a movie star, it just means that by paying closer attention to your physical appearance, you may be able to get ahead in your career, particularly if you’re job seeking in a field where you are customer-facing (or client-facing) or currently working and seeking to get ahead.
In fact, according to a recent year-long study of more than 4000 well-educated professionals and 268 senior executives conducted by Capital Training Institute, looking like a leader is the first step to becoming one, or achieving a better job role. CTI says that in order to portray “executive presence,” superiors must perceive you as having gravitas, excellent communication skills and a polished appearance. If tattoos stop you getting a job, there are some things to consider.
So what can you do to improve your personal appearance when you work in a security role? Take note of a few of these tips and you might be on the road to a promotion or new role before you know it.
Untidy or “crazy” hair
Even if you don’t have much of it (or even if you do!) making sure your hair is neat and tidy is a must. Having long hair tied back is a good idea if your job has physical demands and short hair should be neatly trimmed. Wacky hair colours may not be appreciated in many types of professional roles, so consider that if you’re planning on a dramatic appearance change.
Visible piercings and tattoos stop you getting a job
Workplaces are now more flexible with policies regarding visible tattoos and piercings. According to All Business, “In today’s global marketplace, employers are positively promoting a work environment that welcomes employees from many different backgrounds,” which may allow for some flexibility when it comes to body art. Check what your employer’s policy allows and adhere to it.
Old and/or dirty clothes or uniform
There is no excuse for dirty clothing, especially if you’re a professional. If you wear a uniform make sure it’s in the correct size and if you wear “civilian clothes” make sure they are ironed, neat, modest and suitable for your level of activity at work. Take cues from your managers and bosses. Do as they do.
Whether you’re a man or a woman, inappropriate footwear will not only make you look unprepared but could actually be a hazard on the job. The majority of security officers and guards will need to wear enclosed shoes. Usually these will need to be comfortable, and in many cases you may need to be able to move quickly or stand for long periods of time. Make sure you choose appropriate footwear.
Being stuck to your technology
We all do it these days but it might be a bad look at work. By all means, keep an eye on your phone if you’ve got kids at home with a babysitter or if you’re expecting an important, work-related call. Check your company’s policy and stick to it. Don’t spend endless hours gaming on your smart phone, even if you can. Make sure you focus on your job and put the technology away.
Dirty fingernails or chipped nail polish
We’re all human, right? Sometimes our personal grooming takes a backseat but there is an easy fix. Attending to your nails (even if you’re a big, burly bloke) for a couple of seconds each morning is a good idea, so invest in a fingernail brush (they cost about five dollars). For security roles, it may be a good idea to keep your nails short and polish-free, but check your company’s policy. Neat and tidy nails are a sign of good health and self-care; things you want to project as a professional.
A scowl on your face
Cheer up! We all have bad days at work but make sure your face doesn’t reflect any stress you’re under. Security officers and guards are often “representing” an organisation to the public and in many cases may be the first person that a customer or client sees. Keep a straight face, or even better, a smile. Mind Tools says that a smile can help with career progression too, “A simple smile can help tremendously. Also, try to speak to colleagues face-to-face from time to time, instead of sending emails or instant messages.”
You are more than your appearance
Remember, a neat and considerate appearance on the job will always help your career. Take a good look at yourself and see what you could improve. With a few tweaks towards looking more professional, you may find that people take you more seriously. As they say in the classics, “Clothes maketh the man.” Project the image you intend to and see your professional dreams come into focus. If you think that tattoos stop you getting a job, just take this advice on board.