I recently got a substantial raise at work, for which I’m quite proud. I believe I earned that raise through hard work, talent, and superb execution, not to mention negotiating skills. While that’s the way I wish all raises were achieved, that’s not always the case. Sometimes you can be the best employee and still be passed up for a raise (or get a smaller raise than you deserved) for superficial reasons. Here are three ways being superficial can help your career.
Several studies have shown that obese people actually earn less than their counterparts – and the issue is worse for women than for men. This study from George Washington University showed that obese women were underpaid by over $8,000 per year, with obese men being underpaid by “only” $4,772. Another study has even shown that obese people are more often passed up for job opportunities.
Why are obese employees or job applicants so blatantly discriminated against? They are often stereotyped as lazy or sloppy. I’m not here to argue whether that’s right or wrong, but if you are already wanting to lose some weight, let this be extra motivation for you. In the meantime, wear clothes that fit well and have a sliming appearance to them. If you are happy with those curves, great! Be conscientious about the stereotypes, finding ways to showcase your energy and attention to detail.
Other studies have shown that more attractive candidates have an easier time in their job hunts and they get paid more than their less attractive counterparts – by around 3-4%, which adds up over a lifetime! So what’s a homely individual to do? Don’t give up. Make sure your hairstyle is attractive, current, and easy for you to maintain. Invest in a stylish wardrobe, consulting a professional shopper if fashion is a foreign concept to you. If you are a woman who doesn’t know blush from mascara, you can get make-up lessons for free at many beauty stores or make-up counters. If you wear glasses, check into contacts or LASIK. If you absolutely will not do contacts or surgery, then at least make sure you are wearing flattering frames.
Dress the Part
If you want to be a Vice-President at your company, look at what the Vice-Presidents are wearing and emulate their style. You are more likely to be overlooked for promotions if your superiors are worried that you cannot represent the company well. Note that this works both ways – don’t be underdressed for the part you want, but don’t overdress, either. If you come in wearing a suit and tie when the President of the company wear shorts, it will be obvious that you cannot read situations well. You might not be able to afford a new wardrobe, but you can focus on wearing items that are flattering. Also make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free.
Being Superficial Might Help You!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to implement these ideas, but any money you do spend could be considered an investment. If you get a raise or a coveted promotion, you’ll make back the money you spent quickly. In the end, looking your best will give you more confidence – maybe that’s all you need to put you over the top! What have you got to lose?