What you said and what I heard.

What you said… What I heard.

Your non-verbal communication could be the reason you are not getting the job of your dreams or the promotion you really deserve.  Some of the number one reasons companies are not or will not hire you is not because of what you say verbally but what your non-verbal communication is saying about you. Some of the top reasons are piercings, bad breath, visible tattoos, wrinkled clothes, and messy hair according to Forbes magazine.

  • Piercings: 37%                                                                
  • Bad breath: 34%                                                                            
  • Visible tattoos: 31%     

But how far will employers go? For example American Apparel’s corporate policy states that shiny lip gloss and bangs are forbidden as well as over drying hair may cause excessive drying. Yet most companies don’t have a written policy on tattoos and piercings. Tattoos have come a long way from when they were only on felons and bikers. Today it is just as likely for Robin to have a tattoo as it is for me.  Roughly 24 percent of Americans ages 18 – 50 have at least one tattoo.

Although a tattoo may represent a fond memory, your personality, or that one crazy night in Vegas, they are nothing more than a body adornment just like a wedding ring or even the clothes you wear. They also project just as much non-verbal communication as the tone of your voice. Your voice can clearly let another person know what kind of mood you are in, if you are comfortable, or if you have a bad attitude. Same can be said for your tattoos and piercings. They could be misconstrued as negative simply because the tattoos could be misinterpreted.  An example is a petunia tattoo, a petunia in the flower world stands for anger and resentment. There are also Hindu tattoos such as a swastika. A swastika can easily be mistaken for having Nazi beliefs as opposed to a very common form of Hindu art meaning good fortune, luck and well-being.  The problem is most companies do not know what you are projecting with piercings and tattoos since they can be easily misunderstood.

An employer’s main concern is how to cover up the tattoos or sometimes will just write the potential employees off because of their tattoos. Companies may not be realizing that they could be missing out on the next best thing since sliced bread because of how they are interpreting the tattoo or piercing.  Be aware of what your non-verbal communication is saying about you. You may not get fired for having a tattoo but you also may not get hired.  As always, think before you ink.

Cites: Faw, Larissa. Visible Tattoos and Other Corporate No-Nos. ForbesWoman. Forbes.com. September 25,2011

By: Natalie Taylor

1 Comment

  1. Mike said,

    November 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Knowing your instructor and enjoying the blog you have presented, I have only a few comments to make.
    The world of workforce and employment are changing as fast as computer updates and software/hardware patches.
    The most unnerving reality is if you can’t be yourself, how long should the charade last?
    The career you and others wish to pursue may take some sacrifice. If a non-verbal communication hinders a dream, altering your dream or altering how you present yourself are the first two options to consider.
    Your instructor is a very “down-to-earth” person. Have a chat, get some good basic advice, agreeing and implementing is still your choice.


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