Majoring in Curls

Email your questions to Aimee.

That time of year is upon us, curly college students! For those of you getting up into the sacred realms of the upperclassmen, I’m sure that you’re starting to hear lovely phrases like "internships," "resumes," and "job interviews." I start to get a little jittery just thinking about them. I’m assuming there is a small percentage of students out there who have jobs already lined up after graduation and know exactly what they’re going to do. Hooray for them! Honestly, they must be just sitting back and thanking the gods that they can breathe for two minutes. But for the rest of us (myself included) plans might not be so definite at the moment.

Job and internship hunting requires a lot of putting yourself out there and letting prospective employers see what a fabulous person you are! A well-written resumes and cover letter is incredibly crucial when getting people’s attention, but when you finally do get that interview, you need to look the part. No one is going to take you seriously if you saunter into an office with jeans and flip-flops. I know that’s a bit of exaggeration, but appearance does matter. At the most basic level, make sure your clothes are ironed and clean! (Have you seen that commercial where the shirt stain is talking louder than its owner? Too true.) Wear colors that suit you well, that tend to get you compliments. One thing I’ve heard a hundred times is to wear closed-toed shoes! Sandals just aren’t right, despite how well they go with your outfit and regardless of how hot it is outside. Keep the make-up simple as well. You don’t want to blind employers with a new sparkly eyeshadow or shock them with lime green liner.

Sadly, there are people out there who form opinions about curly hair. That it reflects a sort of unmanageability in the curly girl, or that curlies tend to be a little wilder and not as dependable. And I’m not kidding or exaggerating. Some employers just subconsciously equate straight hair with control and responsibility. Now that is discrimination right there!

God forbid that I would recommend straightening your hair just to get a job. To quote from the movie Clueless, “As if!” Your hair is a part of your personality. It is important to prove that you’re the best person for the job, whether you have straight, curly, or no hair! In effect, hair does count, but only to the extent that it’s well-styled and cut. Keep your hair out of your face so you can communicate well and not distract others. Maybe a headband or a few pins strategically placed here and there would do the trick. Try to keep the frizz to a minimum with some smoothing serum or pomade, whatever you find works best.

There is something to be said for the type of job or internship you’re applying for. A law firm or office, for example, will require a look that’s more dressy and classic than a position at a record company, for example. Some jobs lend themselves to being a little more creative and funky with appearances. Use your best judgment in these cases and don’t do something crazy like dye your hair purple the night before the big day! Very cool, but maybe a little too daring.

I’m not saying these are rules to live by when it comes to interviews. Make sure you feel comfortable enough to let your lovely personality shine through. That’s what they want to see!