Employability and the First Impression

In a prior post I wrote about being secure in our “employability” vs. the notion of job security (which simply doesn’t exist). After reading this, one of my long time business associates encouraged me to write on the topic of today’s post…So, blame him 🙂

We all have to start our working career somewhere. For many of us this involves a service-oriented job. These jobs happen to provide EXCELLENT experience by working with the public and interacting with a diverse set of people (even an occasional whack-o 🙂 ). All of which prepares us for the future.

These jobs could be in retail (bagging groceries, stocking shelves, serving customers). Or, we may perform as a mason’s helper (mixing cement and lugging cinder blocks as we traipse in and out of the customer’s house). That was my start, at least…

Now, let’s put ourselves in the hiring manager’s / business owner’s position. We are looking for someone to best represent us in our business, to our customers. We have 2 candidates sitting in front of us. Both seem to be healthy, highly capable individuals. One is “fairly” clean cut and smiling. The other sports a grimace, face piercing(s) and/or (visible) tattoos.

First, to be clear, we have experienced all of the above in my own family. I love them each dearly, and always will. And, this isn’t a conversation about someone’s worth to humanity. The 2nd person in our example may very well may be the nicest and hardest working person on the planet!

The unfortunate reality is, people DO judge a book by its cover. And, first impressions matter!

“You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” ~ Will Rogers

The goal of this topic is to improve the odds for our employability (now and in the future).

Yes, the second person in our example will be able to get a job. But, for the typical job (read, the most frequently available positions) it may be a “little” harder to do so for him/her than the first person in our example. And, it may be harder for them to excel in their future career. This would be an example of “self-imposing” a glass ceiling.

Don’t we want the odds stacked in our favor? As such, when considering “permanently” changing one’s body it is important to think beyond the “coolness of today” and consider life 10-20 years down the road assuming we’d like the odds in our favor to be hugely successful and financially secure. This doesn’t mean we can’t get a tattoo. What we can do is be discrete. For example, a “sleeve” tattoo can be covered (if/when necessary) by wearing a long sleeve shirt.

Yes, it is possible to achieve great things despite the odds. And, I will always encourage this (going for it, regardless of the odds). The question to ask ourselves is: Am I making it easier to attract opportunities, or am I setting up obstacles that may slow me down both now and in my important future?

If you’d like to learn more about creating a great first impression, check-out the following book.


Yeah, I just may get that tattoo one day. You just won’t be able to see it unless you catch me on the beach, somewhere in the world…

If you have an idea or suggestion for future topics to be covered, feel free to reply or leave a comment on this post.

One thought on “Employability and the First Impression

  1. […] Bottom-line: You only have ONE CHANCE to make a good first impression. […]

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