You’re young, thirsty for the next challenge and passionate to succeed. You’ve also just graduated and are on the search for your first career. During your summer you spent time completing an internship and throughout the term you accumulated hours of experience through hourly jobs. You’ve also grown a beard. The centre of your style, and if you’re honest, the thought of shaving it off is soul crushing.
On top of that, you have your parents reminding you that you’ll have to shave if you want that elusive first job. Too make things worse, the people that are doing the hiring are from a clean-cut no-nonsense generation who simply don’t understand or appreciate any form of individual stylistic expression, let alone a beard.
You feel like you shouldn’t have to shave just to get a job, but you also really need that first job. Do you shave, and give into the idea that professionals can’t be bearded? Or do you stick to your guns and hope for the best? Lets have a look...
Research your Industry
If you are looking for a job in the emergency services, you will more than likely be required to shave off your beard. This is because there will be times when you will have to wear a sealed mask around your mouth to prevent you breathing in dangerous fumes. For this reason, it makes sense to remove any facial hair before the interview to prove you are serious about your chosen career. Some food preparation roles also have health and safety rules that insist on a clean shaven face, while other jobs simply have strict presentation rules. For example, some retail outlets and offices have strict image requirements that they expect employees to adhere to. The point is, that if you haven’t done your homework in advance of the interview, and turn up with a beard to a job where they expect you to shave, you will have to work extra hard to convince the potential employer that you are right for the job.
Keeping up Appearances
If your research convinces you that you can keep your beard and still have a reasonable chance of getting the job, then you need to ensure that you maintain it properly. Regular shampooing and conditioning will keep it clean and soft, while beard oils and waxes will keep fly away hairs looking neat and tidy. Before the interview, get your beard professionally trimmed so that it is presentable, and carry a comb with you for any last minute alterations. While many companies are happy to employ men with beards, few will look favourably on those that are messy and unkempt. You want to make sure your beard looks like a style statement, rather than something that happened simply because you lost your razor.
Be Prepared to Debate
If you walk into an interview with a tidy, stylish beard, having done your homework, and the employer is still a little unsure about whether it presents the right image for his company, you need to be ready to argue your case. This beard is your pride and joy, and so you need to be able to convince your interviewer that it in no way hinders your ability to fit in and get on with your job. And if you can talk about, and show the interviewer how your beard is a defining part of you, then you will be able to sway anyone’s opinion. Prove to him that growing a beard requires patience, commitment and dedication, and then show him how those attributes relate to your dream job.
Your Beard vs Your New Job
Sometimes, an employer will be so impressed with you, that they will be eager to employ you. But when offering you the job, it is possible that they could still ask you to shave your face. Then you have a choice to make. How important is this job to you? If it is your dream role, and you have no other options, you might decide to go ahead and pick up the razor. If you have attended several interviews, and are waiting on call backs for them, you could take a gamble and decline the offer and keep your beard. It is your personal decision.
What if you don’t get the job?
If you receive the dreaded rejection letter or email, don’t dismay. Instead use this as an opportunity to find out what went wrong, so that you can apply this knowledge to future interviews. Was the employer put off by your beard, or was there another issue that made him choose someone else? Send a quick, polite email, thanking him for the opportunity to talk to him, and asking if there is any advice he could give you for future interviews. If it turns out that the beard was part of the problem, then it may be that the company wasn’t the right one for you, or it might be that you would be better off shaving your face. Either way, at least you will have an informed opinion.
Be Bold, Be Bearded
If you choose to keep your beard, whether you get the job or not, take this opportunity to change the world, one opinion at a time. Why should bearded men be discriminated against? Wear your bushy facial hair with pride, and defend its honour confidently and defiantly. The first impression counts, but if you are confident, friendly and eager, then it is these traits an employer will remember, while your beard will be a secondary issue.
As you progress in your chosen career, your reputation will proceed you, and your beard-growing ability will no longer hamper your progress in most professions. Until then, you have to play by the company rules. Good luck with your interview, whether you decide to be bearded or not.