I saw similar, quetions here, but they mostly considered clothing options...
I’m a woman in her twenties and I just started my career at a multinational outsourcing IT company. I plan to work with big data as an analyst (or, as some people call it, data scientist). Since I do not have any experience in the industry, I have some trainings to complete at the company before I could actually get to work for a client. Right now, I feel like I am good in what I’m doing and my mentors are pleased with my skills and progression.
But I had a conversation with a coworker, who suggested that if I want to work in this field, I have to change how I look, because our clients would be banks and other “serious” companies and they will probably refuse to work with someone who looks “unprofessional”. I have to add that this coworker is at the same level as me, so has no experience with such clients. I think my style couldn’t be considered too extreme, I do not belong to any subculture, do not wear heavy makeup etc., but my nose is pierced (simple nose ring), I have a very small, yet visible tattoo on my wrist and I like my hair dyed to fashionable colors like silver-gray and sometimes pale blue. There is no dress code in our company, so I dress casually for work (nothing extreme or revealing), but, naturally, I would “suit up” properly when meeting a client.
Until my coworker’s remark, I did not assume that looks would seriously affect someone’s career in this field. What is your opinion? Is it true that banks, insurance companies could/would refuse to work with me even though, based on my skills and experience, I would be perfect fit for the job? My more experienced coworkers are middle-aged men with very ordinal style, so I can’t really ask them for advice.