Should You Consider Taking Your Hijab Off For a Job?


Ever since Muslims became a hot topic in the media, many Muslim women have been reconsidering whether or not to keep wearing their hijab. In addition to stares and harsh comments, we were now also subjected to unequal chances in employment. It breaks my heart every time I see friend take it off because they don't believe they'll be offered a fair chance at a job, compromising an essential part of their identity and often suffering inside because of it.

I’m not saying you won’t be turned down because of it, but that you will be better off because of it.

I am all for shedding positive light on gloomy situations, and I wondered; is there a way that wearing the hijab can actually serve as an advantage to us when looking for a job? And the answer I came to was yes, most definitely. I believe that every second of wearing the hijab is heavy in the sight of God and there is wisdom in wearing it in any situation.

So here are five reasons you should keep your hijab on when seeking a job opportunity:

1.) You stand out.

Let’s face it, whether we like it or not, people remember us. Sure, this doesn’t work in your favour when you’re running late, trying to slip into class without the lecturer noticing, but in an interview, this works for you.

You want to seem unique, and chances are, you’re the only one who turned up to this interview wearing a hijab. You have already set yourself apart from the rest before you even say a word. What you say is more likely to be remembered and your face will be distinguished from the rest in the interviewer’s mind. And anything that leaves an imprint on your interviewer is a huge plus for you!

2.) You have empathy.

As a Muslim, you know what it’s like to be a minority. To not always have the same access to things other people take for granted. The fact that you even have to consider whether you should wear your hijab to an interview proves it!

But this also means, you possess one thing that many people do not.

You can empathise. You can relate to the misunderstood, the insecure, the unheard – because unfortunately, you’ve been there. Empathy is essential when working with the young, working with the old, teaching, healing, selling, creating – you name it. So don’t be afraid to use it as a valuable tool in your skill set.

Forbes has recognised empathy as a quality that often sets successful companies apart from the rest. And if empathy equates to higher success, why wouldn’t your potential employer want to hire you?

3.) You emit strength.

Being a visible Muslim is not easy. And most people know that. Yet, you still wear your hijab with pride and dignity. Wearing the hijab in this society takes bravery, confidence and patience, and these are all qualities that are highly valuable in the workplace. The fact that you hold fast to your values, especially with the current depiction of Islam, shows that you have integrity.

So as you sit there, discussing your experiences, consider your hijab the loyal wing woman by your side, whose presence is worth more than words can say.

4.) You surprise people.

Perhaps your potential employer does have some preconceived notions about Muslim women. You see it as soon as you walk into the room. The surprise in their eyes. A double check of the list on their clipboard. An uncertain handshake.

Speaking to someone who may not expect much of you is all the more reason to hold your head up high, and smile wide. You turn their image of an uneducated, submissive Muslim woman upside down and give them some real substance to work with. Essentially, them setting the bar low for you means that you will almost certainly surpass their expectations and dazzle them with your confidence.

Also, you get major dawah points.

5.) You filter out the bad ones.

If a prospective employer does turn you down because of your hijab, realise that this is so much better for you in the long run. For someone to turn you down just because of your faith and outward appearance shows a lack of understanding and progressiveness that does not make for very effective work culture. And you don’t want to work in a place like that.

Consider it a loss for them, and a blessing for you that you found out now rather than later. And move on to a workplace that will value you for who you are.