How Can Your Appearance Affect Your Career?

If we look at models, actors and other public figures, we can confidently say that their appearance is crucial for their professional success. But does the career of a manager, lawyer, doctor, banker or teacher depend on how they dress, how often they visit the gym or how much they care for their health? Let’s try to answer this.

What can we learn from research?

As much as we’d like to believe that career success is solely determined by talent, motivation, and skill set, research shows that there is more to it – personal appearance and attractiveness play a huge role, too. Researchers have found a correlation between the performance of better-looking faculty members and higher teaching evaluations. According to a recent study, women who wear more makeup were considered more competent than women who wear less makeup or none at all. It has also been shown that the appearance of a doctor can significantly impact patients’ trust – well-dressed physicians in neat uniforms are perceived as more trustworthy. And even the colour of the outfit matters. For example, green scrubs make patients more comfortable than white coats, and funny surgical caps Australia medical workers wear can enhance the doctor’s friendly image.

In 2005, a study by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis revealed an even more striking correlation. It claimed that attractive people earn five per cent more than others. Further research showed that such injustice occurs in virtually every profession, but it is most pronounced in those requiring daily communication with colleagues or clients. These data also correlate with psychologists’ assessments: people are willing to spend more time with good-looking individuals. Charismatic behaviour and a charming smile may even increase sales, as customers are more likely to return.

Could your appearance affect your job promotion?

If you ask an HR manager of any company whether an employee’s attractiveness affects their chances of being hired, you will probably get a no. However, people make decisions based on various factors, including explicitly conscious, tacitly conscious, and subconscious motives. Even though nobody will admit that something so irrelevant as personal attractiveness may impact their decision-making process, the fact is it does.

The recruiter always evaluates not only the verbal image of the job applicant, their qualifications and personal qualities, but also their appearance. As shown by numerous studies in different countries, attractive applicants are generally given preference.

In one of those surveys, about 62% of HR managers answered that the appearance of a potential employee is “rather important”, and for one in five (20%) – “very important”. In addition, more than half of respondents (59%) admitted that they had at least once refused to hire a person with the right skills because they did not like their appearance.

Are there ways to make appearance-related career factors work for you?

The connection between personal attractiveness and career growth goes deeper than it appears. In addition to the perception aspect, according to which clients and team leaders tend to treat attractive people better than those with less good-looking appearances, there is also an objective factor. Regular exercise and keeping the body in a healthy state can help boost brain performance. In other words, we begin to look more attractive and think more efficiently, which will help us succeed at work. In addition, sports require good time-management skills and self-discipline, which are valuable qualities for any company. 

You may not realize it, but there are many aspects of personal attractiveness that you can influence, such as the ability to dress appropriately and present yourself professionally. At the first interview, it is crucial to make a good impression in terms of your education, professional background, and appearance. Neat clothes, clean shoes and carefully selected accessories will always be noticed and contribute to the image of a well-qualified candidate.

In addition to clothing, you must learn to behave with dignity, maintain a calm posture, move confidently, and control your voice to project a positive image. Psychologists also suggest that a friendly smile indicates a person’s openness, good communication skills, and positive, can-do attitude. So a person with a calm and smiley face is more likely to get the desired position or a promotion.

The Final Answer

Ultimately, overall attractiveness is important in life and business. However, beauty is not the point, but rather the skills you possess – dressing appropriately, being enthusiastic and friendly, and having a diligent work ethic play a significant role in an individual’s appearance and perception in the workplace. You don’t have to be a supermodel or have specific eye colour or haircut, but looking your best and presenting well are essential professional skills you need for career success. 

It takes just five seconds for people to form an impression of a stranger, even before you start communicating and talking about your professional qualities. Consider investing in your health and enhancing your social skills to create a strong image, helping you effortlessly make a favourable impression within those few first seconds.

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