I remember the anxiety I felt as I prepared for my first, post college job interview. I read every article I could find on landing that great job. I made my list and checked it twice; I had a great resumé, a blue suit, the college degree, and the sensible shoes.
I was ready to go.
However, I had just one slight concern. My hair was freshly braided into the funkiest cornroll hairstyle.
Although I was prepared for the interview, I pondered about whether I was making the best presentation. Did I look too afro-centric? Did I look like an African American militant?
I had to look within. I asked myself what’s more important? Do I value my natural hair over my ability to pay my bills? I knew the answer to that question in an instant. My answer…. an emphatic ….No!
In that moment, my confidence to wear my natural hair drained out me like air out of a balloon.
To get some perspective, I spoke to some Baby Boomers who had that “good job”. Their advice, “Baby you will never get that good job with your hair like that!” Those words tore through my soul. I felt horrible for being ashamed of my natural hair. I felt defeated for not living up to what the baby boomers referred to as….status quo.
To remedy my “interview hairstyle” challenge, I drove to the store and bought a wig. In the end, I got the job. But, I never got over my yearning desire to wear my hair naturally. So, I wore the wig to work for just over a month. Then one day, I walked through the door with a fresh cornroll style. To my surprise, I received so many great compliments. In retrospect, I realize I regained my confidence to wear my natural hair. In fact, my confidence soared to a new level.
Today, I am a Museum executive with 12 years fundraising and management experience.I haveadvanced skills in community relationship building, Museum audience development, art exhibition management, events management and strategic planning. Also, I am a seasoned natural hair stylist, barber and master locktician.
During my career, I’ve been on several job interviews. I’ve landed some great jobs. Also, I’ve interviewed potential employees too. But, I promise you one thing……. I never, ever wore a wig to a job interview, to work or a black-tie event!
5 transformational tips
As a natural hair stylist and business professional, I feel my role is to advocate and support others along their natural hair journey. To this end, my 5 transformational tips are as follows:
- Natural hair is not a trend. It’s a lifestyle. The decision to go natural is about more than just changing hair care products. As a stylist, I’ve met many people who have shared with me their personal hair transformations; the change that inspired their decision to go natural.
- The corporate world is changing. Diversity and inclusion is a now a corporate priority.
- Your work life is an extension of you. Look for a job that fits you.
- When preparing for an interview, make sure your resumé is a well-crafted document, your suit and shoes looks great. Also, seek out a natural hair stylist. Consider cut, color and styling options.
- During the interview, convey a great work ethic, highlight you work skills, smile and relax; show confidence and personality.
After all, you must consider that you work life is an extension of who you are. If a company doesn’t hire you because of your hair, then that company is not the place for you. (Can you imagine going to work everyday and not feeling accepted? Can you imagine hiding who you are on a daily basis?)
In the end, you are not your hair. You are a winner. Let the best in you shine! Most important, hold on to your confidence and faith; know that you will get the right job and promotion.
Today, I am sharing one of my favorite quotes:
Be yourself because everybody else is taken!