Smoking is bad for you. Yes – yet another unsolicited opinion on why you shouldn’t smoke. But I have a slightly different point of view on this issue. You already know that smoking is bad for your health, so I won’t bother rehashing all of the medical arguments.

Smoking can kill your chances of getting a job.

Every week I hear that someone has been a great candidate…except for the fact that they smoke.

“Jane was perfectly qualified for the job. Unfortunately, we could not hire her because she smokes.”

Everywhere you go nowadays, you are entering a smoke-free zone. Not only are you prohibited from smoking in the building, but many businesses are implementing bans against smoking anywhere on the premises. This means that if you want to cure your nicotine urge, you have to leave the area. Which, of course, means that your employer isn’t going to like the fact that you leave work just to have a cigarette – it kills their productivity. Smokers also raise the cost of providing health insurance. Employers tend not to like that, either. Now more than ever, companies must watch every dollar.

More than anything, however, smoking leaves a bad impression on clients and customers. What many smokers fail to realise is that even one cigarette will leave the smell of smoke clinging to their hair, skin, clothes and breath. That smell is immediately noticeable – especially to non-smokers. In a business world where image is everything, there is less and less room for smokers.

What do I do?

Obviously, if the medical evidence hasn’t convinced you to quit, nothing I say will convince you, either. So the only option left is to beat the system.

If you are going to a job interview, smoke your last cigarette before you shower and don’t pick up another one until you are well out of the parking lot. If you smoke indoors, make sure your interview apparel is freshly laundered and free of the smell. This includes overcoats. If necessary, throw your jacket in the dryer with a laundry sheet. If your coat is leather, spray a bit of perfume or cologne on a paper towel and thoroughly wipe down the leather. The same thing goes for handbags and briefcases – any item you take to your interview should be free from the smell of smoke.

Finally, PAPER RETAINS SMOKE! That’s correct – your CV could give you away. Print out fresh copies and keep them where they won’t be exposed. And don’t forget that if you do smoke inside, the paper sitting in your printer may be at risk.

Think ahead and follow these simple rules and you should pass the test during your interview.