Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Does 'Beauty' Matter in Getting Ahead?

Human Capital Magazine has just published an article linking beauty to employability.

The question is, do looks matter?

The resounding response is that 'yes they do': ..."a growing body of research indicates that Australian, UK and US employers view aesthetic factors such as voice, grooming, and personal style as ‘skills’ – and they’re willing to pay a premium to get it."

Read the full article here.

According to Professor Warhurst at the University of Sydney, "people who are perceived to be better looking command pay premiums of between 10-16% over those who are less blessed in the looks department, and are in fact two to five times more likely to be employed in the first place".

I'd like to discuss this from a psychological perspective and then from a personal branding viewpoint.

Subconsciously we all make decisions phenomenally quickly. And when it comes to making positive or negative judgments about other people, we do it in the blink of an eye.

It might be the case that another person's beauty - or rather how attractive you find them - affects that judgment. When I talk about 'attractive' here, I am not referring to a physical or sexual attraction - more, that you simply like that person.

When you are attracted to another person I believe there are a number of things going on:

1. It is likely that you enjoy their energy - you like being around them.

2. They probably make you feel good about yourself.

3. They might have a subtle confidence that reassures you.

4. There is a consistency between what they are saying and how they are saying it (their tone of voice and body language are true to their words).

I don't think employability is so much linked to beauty, but rather to likeability.

From a personal branding perspective, there is a great deal you can do to cement your image further.

As well as mastering the four skills listed above there are some additional things you might try:

1. Adopt a personal style and grooming that fits your personal brand.

2. Understand and know what your value is - I believe that people who can confidently communicate their value, say in a job interview, are far more likely to be successful than those who can not.

3. Be assertive when you communicate - that is about what you say, how you say it, how you walk, your posture and a myriad of other factors (but that's enough for now)!

What do you think?

- Rebecca

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