A growing trend is making its way onto the professional world. Though it is unwritten (and unspoken), it is just as effective as any other credential. Cosmetic surgery is becoming more prevalent as one of the steps professionals take to make themselves more appealing to employers.
Studies indicate candidates are getting cosmetic surgery to further their chances of getting hired (and getting ahead). The reason – studies also show that it works. It only makes sense that physical improvements to promote one’s best self is just as important as experience, education and references are to a resume.
As the newer cosmetic treatments and procedures become more common, affordable and less of a stigma, the new fill-and-go movement is becoming as standard as the mani-pedi. Cosmetic procedures and treatments are exploding into new territories and expanding beyond beautification. The biggest trends are being experienced in the corporate world. Here are the top 5 reasons individuals are using aesthetics to gain a competitive edge and go further (and faster) in their career.
To Get Hired
Liz Wolgemuth suggests in her usnews.com article, “Take Your Resume and Shove It” that we can initially use cosmetic surgery to get hired. Employers are looking beyond the resume in more ways than one. Not only is appearance a conscious or unconscious piece of selection criterion, but researching social media tells them what kind of person they’re hiring.
An easy way to determine whether someone is fluffing their resume is to look them up on popular Facebook and Linkedin profiles to see how potential candidates act in their personal life. Consulting groups now offer the ability to clean up one’s social profile as one of the consultation services that helps individuals gain employment. It’s an invasion of privacy for sure, but once it’s out there, it’s free knowledge for anyone to access and review. Ugly uploads (and posts) can promote or destroy one’s chance at the perfect position. So can the selfies we take. To be considered for a position, it seems a lot easier to post only those things we would want an employer to see.
To Appear More Confident
In the New York Times (Your Money), April 24, 2015 article, “Noninvasive Cosmetic Surgery Can Deliver Confidence, at a Cost”, author Paul Sullivan provides a logical theory surrounding our appearance as we perceive it. It is distracting and a strong indication of low self esteem when people attempt to hide unattractive features when they speak. It may be obvious, it may not. The point is, the speaker knows it’s there. He or she may have a blemish, scar, droop or other impairment that impacts the way they effectively communicate with others in a business setting.
Teeth are big ticket items in dental cosmetics (i.e., whitening, straightening, over bites, under bites, etc.). Not only can it be the easiest way to improve a head shot (removing discoloration), but can drastically improve one’s speech. Eliminating lisps and stuttering can boost confidence faster than any other procedure or treatment. More invasive procedures could include nose, jaws, cheeks and orbital surgeries. However, these typically correct (instead of enhance) bigger issues and are considered within the more complicated realm of plastic surgery, which has had less of a contribution to these studies.
To Appear Younger
There are EEO policies against age discrimination for a reason. Corporations have been sued (successfully) so many times that they got smarter and expediently terminate someone if HR deems any incident (including hiring or firing) was a direct result of discrimination. Because most companies implement a zero tolerance policy, decisions based on age are either unconscious or undisclosed (to avoid being accused). Job applicants are forced into an underworld of tricks of the trade and physical enhancements to appear younger. Age related products, procedures and treatments account for a significant number of total procedures conducted in the last few years. Those numbers are growing.
Available products hide gray hair, moisturize, tone, cleanse and tighten skin temporarily. Treatments involve things like chemical peels, laser resurfacing and Botox to promote more youthful skin (without commitment of a full face lift). These, too, have a limited life span. Hair transplants and liposuction are longer-term cosmetic procedures that provide permanence but are still on an outpatient basis.
Full blown plastic surgeries other areas of life impacting much more than career advancement. These involve longer recovery, more painful procedures like augmentations, reductions, grafting, implants and skin lifts (of eyelids, breasts or any other portion of skin) that are more permanent.
To Climb the Corporate Ladder
Joseph T. Halford and Hung-Chia Hsu set out to prove the link between appearance and success in their paper, “BEAUTY IS WEALTH: CEO APPEARANCE AND SHAREHOLDER VALUE”. Halford and Hsu obtained a Facial Attractiveness Index (FAI) from Anaface.com and compared 667 CEOs based on their facial geometry, symmetry and a combination of other features (such as weight and height) with financial and corporate success statistics.
What they reported was the people ranking higher on the FAI index received higher compensation rates, got promoted faster, had better negotiations and got hired faster. Corporations with CEO’s that were higher on the FAI achieved higher stock (to the tune of 1.17% more) and more successful mergers.
The report drew a direct link to attractiveness and success, attributing characteristics that projected strength, dependability, trustworthiness, intelligence, amicability, confidence and power. These are all vital features to any employer. Why wouldn’t they be? They have documented and proven success.
To Be Competitive
Corporations are just as interested in competitiveness as individuals. The CEO’s they hire become the “face” of the company. Marketing and sales strategies are often centered around a branding partnership between the product (or service) and their reputation for reliability, trustworthiness, intelligence, confidence and customer satisfaction.
The CEO is often the first company’s first impression. They’re basically another corporate tool used in an effective marketing campaign. If companies note the importance of what the CEO’s face says about their product or service, so should individuals looking to fill similar positions.
The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reports that, among last year’s most prominent trends, about two thirds of its members reported seeing men and women who requested cosmetic surgery because they wanted to remain competitive in the workplace. It’s no wonder.
Turns out, beautiful people really DO get all the breaks. According to Gordon Patzer, author of “Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined”, a long list of study results points to the advantages of being more attractive than most. From the responsiveness of how attractive newborns are held more to higher expectations of better-looking individuals, the numbers indicate there are definite advantages to being beautiful. Those deemed more attractive got more dates, more attention, more praise, better grades (with less effort), higher paying jobs (again, with less effort), and were generally happier.
Not much data was presented or even conducted on entry level and blue collar positions. This may because the concept is exactly the opposite where brawn means more than looks. As long as backdoor stereotyping still exists, those wanting to get ahead will take it to heart and determine which physical attributes will give them a leg up in the job market. The results don’t lie. Cosmetic procedures work!