40 years of faulty wiring

Yes , Looks Do Matter…Some People Even Build a Career On It

Oscar Wilde said, “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”

Not sure I agree entirely with that one but certainly Wilde’s controversial quote fits in very well with 21st century thinking (and no, he was not being sarcastic). Consider that everyone goes on and on about how superficial our society is in placing so much emphasis on our physical appearance. Our attitudes are superficial, shallow, beauty is on the inside, blah, blah, blah.  To an extent that is true. The first thing we notice about a person however, is their appearance. During that 3 – 5 second period we make a lot of assumptions based on appearance alone. This is probably the most problematic and baffling issue about how much a person’s physical appearance matters since we judge a great deal about their character, socioeconomic class, career, and whether or not we would like to associate with this person from then on.

For one thing visual attraction is as old as the origins of humans. As far back as the “caveman” period, visual attraction had a great deal to do with men and women (in their crude, ape-like state) pairing up and reproducing. Men wanted heavy breasts and hips in their women since those features suggested an ability to bear children and nurse them easily. Women wanted a strong, burly mate to protect them and their young from harm. Survival of the fittest I believe it is called. It is evolutionary. It is a part of our DNA so there is no denying that it doesn’t exist.

This has what to do with your career? Good question and I have an even better answer. I just read Joshua Waldman’s blog entitled “Your LinkedIn Profile Picture May Be Killing Your Job Prospects” In a word it’s all about appearances, not the sort of movie star looks that people find attractive. Rather, the blog was about the mood and intensity of a particular man’s photo that was sabotaging him from getting calls for interviews, even though he had a kick-ass resume. When he re-thought his photo and put on a happy face he looked 100 times better and soon he was flooded with interview requests. He didn’t run out and get cosmetic surgery. He didn’t go to Glamour Shots (remember that silly photo shop fad?). He just took another picture and smiled. Voila! He was in the running.

Shallow? Perhaps. But his before photo (which is on the blog) looks so intense as to be scary. His after photo shows a completely different individual, one with a personality and someone you might like as your work colleague. I don’t find that entirely superficial. It is in our nature. It has been programmed there for tens of thousands of years and it isn’t going away soon (or ever). So stop griping, accept the inevitable, and spruce yourself up for your LinkedIn profile, and your Facebook shot if you are posting to companies on it. Look happy. It’s doubtful anyone will fall in love with you but your odds of landing an interview may increase significantly. And therein lies the power of superficiality.

Survival of the Fittest: Ice Age – a little something to lighten the mood
How Physical Appearance Can Affect Your Career – cool little article
The 21st Century Career Tear-Jerker


February 25, 2011 - Posted by | Career, Human Biology, Relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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