Appearances Matter

As my wife ramps up her job search, I’m reminded of this post and decided to bring it to the forefront.

A few weeks ago, I took my son out to my favorite Chinese buffet.  There were two women there with names tattooed on their eyelids.

When you have someone’s name tattooed on your eyelids, you are limiting your job prospects to tattoo-shop employee or drug mule.   You have disqualified yourself from a burger-flipping career.

When I turned 21, I had 13 piercings in my face and dyed-black hair past my ribs.     Everybody is the factory I worked in got used to my bullring in time.

When my son was born, I decided I’d had enough of 12 hour graveyard shifts and not seeing my family, so I pulled out my piercings, put on a nice shirt, and got a corporate-style job in a call center.

Within a week or two, I put most of my piercings back in, and let everyone get used to it.

Six years later, I got laid off, and again, took out my piercings to look for work.

Appearances matter.

I know, for certain, that I wouldn’t have the job I have right now if I still had long hair and enough metal in my face to get me “special” attention at the airport.

A ring of steel through your nose kills the first impression in a business environment.

When you are walking into a situation for the first time, it’s important to pay attention to the persona you are projecting.   Ladies, if the gentleman in the picture showed up for a blind date, would you be inclined to go anywhere with him?  Men, would you expect anyone to go anywhere with you, if this was you?

Visible tattoos are called job-stoppers for a reason.  If you can’t cover them with normal office attire, you won’t get hired in a professional setting.   If that fact is a surprise to you, your lack of judgement means you wouldn’t be a good hire, anyway.

Like it or not, people make most of their decisions about others in the first few minutes of meeting them.   Some studies show that it’s done in the first 30 seconds.   If that time is spent on your facial art, the expletives on your t-shirt, or the briefness of your skirt, don’t expect to have anything else matter.  You may be a genius, but your potential boss will never know that because you’ll be out on your butt before they have a chance to look at your resume.

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    1. Wow, what a story. It is very interesting to hear how much your appearances mattered with these jobs. I must admit I am not surprised. We do live in a very image orientated culture- way more than we used to. It’s a shame self expression get penalized.

    2. It shouldn’t matter, but it does. It is the first 30 seconds of the interview that can disqualify you – I used to be a hiring manager….

    3. My grandfather used to tell me when I was young that the first thing a manager would notice were shined shoes and a nice haircut. Very similar philosophy even though the times have changed and evolved.

    4. I used to be a guitarist in a punk band. My four fellow band members looked the part, but my other real job that paid my tuition was in a department store like Macy’s. I had to resist my teenage urge to go wild, and it was a very profitable decision.

    5. Although tatoos have become more mainstream, it is not acceptable in many professional jobs. Particularly, jobs with the public.

    6. This is why I always wear a suit to work, stylish not trendy clothing for casual occasions and a tuxedo to weddings. Appearance matters. If I looked like a slob no matter how brilliant I was I would be looked down upon

    7. Technically it shouldn’t matter, but nothing happens in an ideal way. Appearance matters whether we like it or not. Slightly off topic, I read an article a few days ago how being prettier than the manager is actually a disadvantage 🙂

    8. Very true about the first impressions. I think the 30 second rule is right; first impressions are almost always based on appearances.

    9. This is one of those sad but true statements. Unfortunately, appearance strongly effects your job opportunities. I know a lady that have her make-up tattooed on her face. This includes lipstick, eye liner, etc. This might not make a difference, but having tattoos on the eye lids definitely might limit your opportunities…

    10. It’s sad that that is true, but it is. The problem is, from the business standpoint, that the people you hire are a direct reflection of your business. Somebody with any exposure to your customers needs to portray what your business is about, and tattoos and lots of piercings are usually not that. And, in many cases, the customer is where the phobia comes in. The guy in the picture is probably a “normal” guy with normal ambitions and, likely, no truly criminal ambitions, but many would look at him and see a criminal just because of the stigma that society gave the things he does.

    11. I know I make judgements based on appearance and tattoed eyelids definitely makes a bad impression.


    1. […] Jason@LiveRealNow presents Appearances Matter | Live Real, Now posted at Live Real, Now, saying, “Visible tattoos are called job-stoppers for a reason. If you can’t cover them with normal office attire, you won’t get hired in a professional setting.” […]

    2. […] at Live Real, Now presents Appearances Matter, saying “Visible tattoos are called job-stoppers for a reason. If you can’t cover them with […]

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