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Judging a Book By Its Cover

It’s the employment topic no one wants to talk about, but here goes: do looks count when you’re job hunting? And if so, how much? Sure, most employers want to fill an open slot with someone who showers every day and dresses professionally, but do they also want someone who looks like they stepped off a movie screen?

I’m sorry to admit that I caught myself asking a not-so-politically-correct question the other day. I friend of mine recently hired an outside salesperson for his office, and my first question was, “Is she attractive?” He responded that he thought she would represent the company well. After that subtle but deserved rebuke, I realized that I believed an attractive salesperson would close more deals and make more money for my friend.

I think it’s fair to assume that extremely attractive people have a slight edge in life. There are even studies that suggest babies respond better to photos of attractive people than to those who aren’t as genetically gifted. Since you can’t beat the instinctive lure of attractiveness, it’s time to make it work for you!

There’s only so much you can do to change the way Mother Nature made you, but there’s a lot you can do to convey your level of sophistication. And really, most employers would take an average-looking employee with class and business acumen over a Brad Pitt look-alike with an empty head and muddy shoes. And if they’re simply looking for the prettiest face in the crowd, do you really want to work there anyway?

It’s not pandering to society’s bias toward good-looking people to put your best face forward at job interviews. Instead, it’s a way to silently declare that you value yourself enough to dress and groom yourself impeccably. Make sure your clothes fit well, that your shoes are shined, that your hair is professionally styled, and that you shave (men) or apply subtle make-up (women). A polished image is the first step toward success in the professional world.

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