Getting Hired, the weekly job search advice newspaper column, was written by Marvin Walberg and was published nationally in newspapers and websites by The Scripps Howard News Service from 1991 -- 2013. Marvin Walberg has a lifetime of sales experience and has concentrated on the job search process for over 20 years.
Dear Mr. Walberg:
My husband has been working in a blue-collar industry for a few years, and feels that he is ready to move up to a management position, either within his current company, or somewhere else. I think he is capable of doing this, but there is one negative – he was a long, untrimmed beard, and although I don’t have a problem with it (he’s had it as long as I’ve known him!), I have suggested to him that some employers might be against such a look. I suggested that he either trim it nice and close, or shave it off until he finds the job he wants, and then see how things go before he grows it back. What is your opinion?
• Email from R.G.
Good question, and in a perfect world your husband would be judged by the quality of his work, work ethic, experience, etc. But, unfortunately we do not live in a perfect world, and as much as employers say they offer equal opportunities to everyone, there is such a thing as “first impressions” and company cultures that may not favor your husband’s look.
I don’t like saying it, but I agree with you, but first I would suggest that your husband network, just like he is, with everyone he knows (family, friends, previous co-workers, and even neighbors). If he can get referrals to prospective employers from people who know the quality of work that he does, he may be able to maintain his favored look. If that doesn’t work, get him a good beard trimmer. I’ll bet he cleans up really well!
When all else fails,
Do what others fail to do!
About three weeks after receiving the above letter, I got a text message from “R.G.”. Her husband took my advice and got several referrals from people how knew him or had worked with him on other jobs. He got a few interviews and BINGO – got hired in a management position in his industry!
See there – it can be a perfect world sometimes if you believe in yourself and sell your strengths! He did what others fail to do.
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