Listen and learn

Your advisor told you to update your resume. He didn’t mean just change the color. Get help if necessary, but craft a polished, legible, accurate, scan-worthy, e-mailable, honest, paper-based resumé. It won’t guarantee a job, but it may get you in the door for an interview. There are some free sources for resumé-writing assistance, such as a school you recently attended or a literate, working friend. There are also paid services that will analyze or even fully re-write your current resume. Choose a path and get that resumé redone.

You asked for advice from a trusted source about how to get a job. You were given good advice. You didn’t follow it. Why? Because you didn’t really listen and learn. You turned off your ears as soon as he told you to re-write your resumé. You really shut down when he mentioned changing your hair or clothes or Instagram. Maybe you should replay that conversation because last time you checked you didn’t have a job yet.

The advice to redo your resumé was not unexpected and you didn’t take it personally as you already knew your paperwork needed an update. However, you were taken off guard and a tad hurt when your mentor suggested you change your appearance. You spend a lot of money on your hair and feel that it expresses who you are whether it is green or in dreadlocks or not there on purpose. One’s hair does usually express a lot about the person wearing it which can be a problem when you are looking for a job. For instance, you have an interview with a middle-aged woman who has a son with green hair who is also looking for a job. She has begged her son to change his hair color thinking that it would better his chances for employment. Now she has a tale to tell him about how she wouldn’t think of hiring a green-haired person like the one she interviewed today. That would be you.

Perhaps this tale is silly, but it has a kernel of truth. People who interview others for jobs have their own set of biases and whether those biases are illogical or inappropriate is beside the point. The interviewer’s biases exist and they may interfere with you getting a job. When you are looking for a job, try to diminish any biases that the interviewer might hold against you, like your hair, the way you dress, even the way you sit. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your personality or values, you just have to lessen their effects while you are job hunting.

So, turn your brain on and review that conversation you had about what you need to do to improve your chances of getting a job, then do what you were told.