Tattoos & Interviews


Dear, Anita,

I want to get a tattoo, but people (mostly my mother!) have been telling me it’s not a good idea because it will limit my career. I have a degree in accounting, and after putting in some time at my current entry-level position, I do plan to look for a better job in the near future. Everyone has tattoos these days; surely employers are used to this by now. Do you think a tattoo will hurt my future?

Dear, Thinking of Inking,

Adult male adjusting necktie.While 20 years ago tattoos were generally perceived as a statement of rebellion, body art is now becoming more mainstream. A recent Pew Research Study shows that 40% of adults age 26-40 have at least one tattoo. However, only 14% of all Americans of all ages have a tattoo, so there’s a good chance one of those 86% who don’t will be your interviewer!

In a Salary.com survey, more than one-third of the respondents believe employees with tattoos and piercings reflect poorly with employers, and 42% responded that visible tattoos are always inappropriate at work. Interestingly, the study found the more educated you are, the less likely you are to have (or condone) tattoos.  There are also regional biases, with the west-south-central area of the U.S. (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) being the least tolerant of inked individuals. Hiring managers, while they themselves may not be biased, have to consider a tattooed employee’s interaction with customers, which could prevent you from getting a job.

Before you tattify, give careful consideration to the body art’s location. A tat on your lower back (known as a “tramp stamp” by the younger set) may never be seen in the course of a normal workday – unless you take a job as a lifeguard. Tattoo “sleeves,” however, are harder to cover day-to-day. If you are applying to a less-traditional company with a hip reputation, visible tattoos may not be as taboo.

To borrow a slogan from Internet marketing, “content is king.” Avoid a tattoo that portrays anything death-related (like skulls) as well as drug-related, racist, or sexually suggestive motifs. A butterfly may be more innocuous than a spider web tattooed on your neck. Check out this video from Global Image Group on preparing for a job interview with tattoos and piercings:

If you do pursue that tattoo, and later find it is limiting your career, tattoo removal is an option. But laser de-inking can be expensive. And while I surely can’t speak from experience, I hear that tattoo removal is more painful than the original process.

If I were you, I would be more concerned about boosting your skills and résumé, rather than your “street cred.”

Readers: What are your thoughts on tattoos in the workplace?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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I Resolve… to Get a New Job


Dear, Anita,

After being in a job that I’m not happy with, after much soul searching, I decided to quit and get a job I love!  It’s been a few months and I didn’t get many interviews during the holidays. Do you have any advice now that everyone is back to business? I’d love to start the new year out in a new job.

Dear, Shooting for the Stars,

I certainly don’t recommend quitting one job before getting another, but what’s done is done. Let’s start with a fresh approach.

Your CareerExplore Your Options.  What about your last job(s) made you unhappy? What tasks did you enjoy the most? To figure out what your dream job looks like, take advantage of some useful self-evaluation tools on  O*net OnLine, an occupation resource website sponsored by the US Department of Labor/ Employment and Training Administration.  Under Advanced Search, you can explore occupations based on your interests, skills, work values, and more. “Know thyself,” as the ancient Greek philosophers recommended. You don’t want to end up in another job where you’ll be unhappy again.

Résumé Review. Take a good look at your résumé. If it hasn’t been working so far, it may need a tune-up – minor or major. Review my post Reasons for No Résumé Response, have a colleague give you feedback, or bite the bullet and hire a professional résumé writing service like CareerPerfect to communicate your skills and experience in the best possible light.

Networking – Social and Traditional. If you’re an introvert, push yourself to do one networking task a week. Go to the chamber of commerce mixer or call an old colleague to ask if they know of any job openings. Haven’t completed your LinkedIn Profile? Checked the privacy settings on your Facebook page? Now is the time to make sure your social media presence is employer-friendly, with no embarrassing photos and off-color language. Google yourself; you may be surprised at the odd things that pop up. (Make sure your Amazon Wish List doesn’t contain anything weird!)

Learn a new job skill. If your newly discovered career goal requires upgraded skills, sign up for a class. If the training you need isn’t available at your local community college or job center, there are a myriad of options on the Internet.  While watching random software tip videos on YouTube can increase your knowledge, choosing a course that provides a certificate of completion you can tout on your résumé is preferable.

Create an action plan. You may have a long-term goal of becoming CEO of a company, but it probably won’t happen next week.  While long-range plans are important, it is equally important to break objectives into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily goals. This segment from Kababayan Today gives some goal-setting tips for getting a job:

Readers: What is your work-related New Year’s Resolution? Do you plan to jump ship in 2014 and seek a new position? Take our poll above. 

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week advice for career success!

Job Seeking Spare Time


A reader writes:

Hi Anita,

I have been unemployed for 2 months and try as I may, I still am having trouble finding employment. I am starting to get extremely bored and the excess hours of the day are beginning to get to me. With the large amount of free time on my hands, what can I do to during the day that will have a positive impact on my job search and my day-to-day life?

Dear, Stuck With Too Much Spare Time,

Job HuntingBeing unemployed and having nothing to do are not as much fun as many people make it out to be. I bet for the first week or two, it feels like a nice vacation full of sleeping in, leisurely breakfasts, watching television all day, and kicking up your feet. But after a short while, those things you wished you could do while you were working are becoming unbearable and boring. If you are starting to feel down about yourself or feeling like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I ask you to turn that frown upside down. It is time to start being proactive and getting your life back on track.

The first thing you need to do is set a schedule out for yourself. No more sleeping in until noon and watching television until the wee hours of the morning. Most people who are employed are up and out the door in time to be at work by 8 a.m. Now that you do not have a job, what do you think your full-time position is? You guessed it, JOB HUNTING! Immediately, go see my friends at Select Staffing and fill out an application. Chances are they will be able to enter you in their database and offer you advice on how to proceed with your search. You must dedicate at least 6 hours a day to searching for a job. That doesn’t mean just scouring the Internet; get out there and sell yourself. For tips and tricks on becoming a very successful networker, check out my post Networking Know-How.

Try to find a class in your area that will build your résumé and your skills. If you work in a warehouse, look into getting your certification in forklift driving. If you are in administrative or executive support, brush up your grammar and proofreading skills. Do something that will benefit you in the long run and help keep your brain from turning to mush.

Build your résumé while doing something good for others. Locate a charity whose cause is near and dear to your heart and start volunteering. This will give you satisfaction and look great to potential employers. Here you can gain Community Serviceprofessional and life skills, meet people that could help introduce you to new job openings, and also earn a great recommendation from your supervisor that can only shed a better light on your unemployment. I once volunteered at a local charity and after a few months of dedicated service, I was offered a paid position in their Career Center.

Surround yourself with positive EMPLOYED people. This is a very important piece of advice to follow. Typically, people who are unemployed will not be happy with their situations and will inevitably bring you down. They will be more likely to engage you in activities that do not mesh well with job hunting activities. People with jobs will be able to share advice and connect with other professionals, possibly resulting in your next job lead.

Cut out the junk food and take some time to get your body moving. Exercise is a great way to spend an hour of your day. Getting your blood pumping will increase your energy level and spread those happy endorphins through your body. It is proven to relieve stress and ward off depression. Healthy foods will give you more energy and make you feel much better, both physically and mentally. Remember if you put good in, you will get good out.

As tempting as it maybe, try to avoid reading the bad news about the job market and the economy; it will only bring you down. Switch over to reading uplifting books and inspiring stories to keep you in a chipper mood. Go by yourself to see movies that bring a smile to your face. It actually gives you a greater sense of independence. I definitely suggest you give it a try.

Set GoalsSet daily and weekly goals for yourself. These do not need to be huge or intricate. Day one can be as simple as waking up at 8 a.m. and apply to 3 viable jobs. If you do that every day for a week, you have 15 job applications and résumés out in the world. Now that is an accomplishment! As you achieve more, you will begin to feel better and more confident in your abilities. Just remember you won’t get anywhere without putting one foot in front of the other.

Now that I have given a few tips, I want to hear from my readers what they find to be the most important advice for keeping your sanity while seeking employment. What things did you do while you were searching for a job?

Take care until next time,

Anita

Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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