So, your looking for a new place of employment, and every job you come across states one or more of the following requirements; Professional, great communication skills, no degree necessary but always a plus, consistent work history, good computer skills, associates degree, bachelors degree, or must have 2-5+ years experience.
All of the following has bugged me whenever I am looking for that perfect job. Why you ask? Well let’s take a look into some of the requirements that I have mentioned.
First off, there is the requirement of being professional. So what determines that? Two men go on the same interview. One man is dressed in a black suit, dress shoes, and dress coat. The second man is dressed in a suit with dress shoes, but no coat. The first man is clean shaven, has long hair that is neatly pulled back in a pony tail, and has bachelors in the field he is applying for. The second man has a trimmed beard, short army style hair cut, and a high school diploma. The first man’s personality was upbeat and willing to work immediately. The second man seemed calm and not articulate. The job goes to the second man. Why? Because the professional aspect of the company based their definition on appearance rather than professionalism of what the person being interviewed could offer the company. The first man was denied due to having long hair. Even though the first man was showered, shaved, and hair tied back…having long hair reduced his chances of becoming employed.
Many employers state themselves as being an equal opportunity employer, however if a woman can be hired and she has long hair, why can’t a male? Furthermore, length of hair should not be a requirement for employment. No employer should tell the soon to be employee that in order to receive this job, he has to cut his hair. They should make a statement that hair should be clean and pulled back away from the face at all times.
Piercing and tattoos are another high concern when it comes to employment. Many organizations limit the number of piercing that can be visible and some make you wear a band aid over an eyebrow ring hole. This requirement seems to be way out in left field. I think you look more professional with a eyebrow ring hole that is the size of a pin hole rather than a large tan band aid over your eyebrow. The number of piercing should not be limited; it’s the location of the piercing. Tongue piercing have a tendency to slur speech in some people and if you are on the phones a lot at your job, wearing the tongue piercing may not me a good idea. Being able to pronounce your words properly to the client will help the day go along smoother, as well as getting your job done. Another bad piercing spot is those that go from the ear to the lip or nose. This isn’t a horrible thing to wear, however it can be dangerous. That small chain that connects the earring to the lip ring or nose ring could get pulled at any time or get accidentally caught on something and as far as I could see, that would hurt like heck if that would get pulled off. And again, how many holes you want to put in your face, doesn’t affect your knowledge about the job that you are applying to.
Tattoos; tattoos are something that many employers want to see covered up, either by a sleeved shirt or by a large band aid or bandage. What you have drawn on yourself doesn’t take away that degree you have that you worked so hard for to get this job. And I don’t think it is necessary to cover up something like a rose, heart, fish, or your “I love my mom” tattoo. The only tattoos that should be considered on covering up are those that may have offensive language or drawings that an employer or employee may not want to see. Such as if you are working in a church and you have a tattoo of a cross upside down saying “the devil kicks ass”. Or if you are working in a school and have a tattoo of a marijuana leaf quoting “get high”. Covering up such offensive tattoos should be done out of common sense and respect for those in your environment. And again, its what you know that is more important that what you decided to draw on your body.
So what exactly is professionalism? Sadly most companies set their own professionalism requirements, however if you are ever faced in a situation like the above, make sure that you remind the employer in a courteous way that you are here for the job, not to be based on appearance, but based on knowledge and personality.
Great computer skills…what is defined by great computer skills? Does it mean knowing how to turn on a computer or knowing how to operate certain programs or maybe just being able to type 50 words per minute? Not many companies go to great lengths to post the computerized skills that they are looking for. Make sure when you submit a resume or talk to the employer, you get detailed specifications on the programs they want you to be familiar with and if they do on the job training. A lot of times many companies don’t want to be teaching you on the job. That leads me into my next point of interest.
Requires 2-5 years or more experience; I always laugh when I see this in job requirements because if you are just coming out of college and or high school and have a degree or knowledge of the field, but have not yet worked for a company in the field to obtain experience and companies won’t hire unless you have so many years experience, then how are you going to get that experience if no one wants to hire you to train you? It’s almost like a double edge sword. That is why you must always let your employers know that you are willing to learn!
Great communication skills are something that I see frequently on job searches, especially for customer service and administrative jobs. The topic is a bit broad, does it mean that you have to be able to speak in front of large groups, communicate via phone, computer, or fax? Or does it mean that you are fluent in English and not displaying any type of accent that could send a miscommunication to a client? This is a touchy type of requirement to set up for a job and should be specifically addressed when speaking to the employer. Simply ask what type of communication skills are they looking for.
No degree necessary but always a plus! If you have a degree, that makes you excited that because it is a ‘plus’ it is considered another check mark by your name at the interview. But if you don’t have a degree, it gives you almost a false hope of being hired because you don’t have the ‘plus’ attached to your name. In most of these situations, companies are leaning towards hiring the college graduates then the high school graduates looking for a start in the real world and a chance to climb your way up the ladder. Again, this is a bad way to send out an employment request.
Associates or Bachelors required! I think this is the one I hate seeing the most. Most students out there, like me, may have not been able to afford finishing college or even go to college, but have spent many hours or years accumulating knowledge and teaching themselves what they know just to get that job they want. Many employers just care about seeing that piece of paper that is printed out by the college or university stating that they have completed the courses required to become a web designer or a psychologist. I think the real question is not whether or not they have that paper; it’s whether or not they can do their job. Did they learn anything from the teachers and professors that taught them all those years?
The old saying that states ‘jobs are hard to come by’ is said because no one is perfect. No one ever fits all of the standards that an employer is looking for. If you do, then congratulations, we all want to know what all you are doing that all of us that are searching are not.
In conclusion, jobs are out there because companies need people like me and you to work for them and help them. Whether it is answering phones for eight hours a day, or concreting roads, or driving a tractor trailer from Pennsylvania to Idaho. Companies need the work done and they are paying you to do it. Their not paying you to have short hair or to have a piece of paper from a school saying you can do it, or even for you to cover up that tattoo of an anchor you got when you were in the Marines. The company is paying you to do your job. Nine dollars an hour to sit at a computer and explain a customer’s bill; eight hours a day standing ringing groceries at the local supermarket; twenty dollars an hour for building a website for a company that will introduce millions to the company.
Money is money; the world is controlled by it. Even though we need it to survive, think about your choices. If you decide to cut your hair, cover up that rose tattoo, and wear that band aid over the microscopic piercing in your eyebrow, just to get the ten dollar an hour job what else may the employer require you to do? You’re changing your appearance to suit a company that doesn’t rely on your appearance, but your knowledge of say… windows 2000. If a job cares more about your skills than your appearance, then this company is the best one to go for! This proves that the company gets down to business and cares about business rather than spending weeks on deciding who to hire based on little things like degrees or hair length.
I know this can be frustrating, but think of it this way, if you don’t like what an employer is telling you then you aren’t going to be happy with your job. And that can cause problems down the road; financial and medical. So be happy! Be yourself!