How Important Is Your Appearance to Your Success?

Success means something different to everyone. Some people prioritize their careers, spending their precious money and time on a high-quality education to help them climb the corporate ladder. Others prefer to measure a life well lived in the number of friends and loved ones they have. They find it fulfilling to socialize and create long-lasting connections with others.

Researchers have conducted many studies on how people’s looks impact their success in life. I hope you’ll find this knowledge as interesting as I did.

People Form Their First Impression of You by Your Facial Appearance

You’ve probably heard how long first impressions can last. Because we all like to be right, most of us automatically look for evidence to prove our initial opinions are correct. However, anyone who’s ever fallen for a scam knows how convincing dishonest people can be.

What’s the secret to making an excellent first impression? Princeton psychology professor Alexander Todorov, author of Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions, wrote:

“People routinely make various trait judgments from facial appearance, and such judgments affect important social outcomes… There is abundant research in social psychology about the effects of facial appearance on social outcomes.”

Studies show people quickly judge character by looking at faces. Why? Research by Drs. Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky revealed that people often use shortcuts to quickly size up a person or situation. These shortcuts help us draw accurate conclusions when we lack information or time.

For instance, influence expert Dr. Robert Cialdini reported that a jewelry shop owner leaving for vacation asked his assistant to offer a 50% discount on some slow-moving products. When he returned, he found they had sold out. Misunderstanding his instructions, his assistant doubled the price of those items. Convinced they must be of higher quality than the rest, customers quickly bought them up.

By the same token, smart restaurant owners have employees park their cars in front on traditionally slow days. They know if it looks like there are no customers, potential patrons will assume the food isn’t good or the price is too high and eat somewhere else.

Aside from shortcuts like “higher-priced items are better” or “busy restaurants have delicious food,” people often determine the kind of person you are by looking at your face. Cialdini further wrote:

“A halo effect occurs when one positive characteristic of a person dominates the way that person is viewed by others. The evidence is now clear that physical attractiveness is often such a characteristic. Research has shown that we automatically assign to good-looking individuals such favorable traits as talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence.”

When socializing, we usually want to be around attractive, friendly people. That’s true whether we’re looking for a friend or a romantic partner.

A Better-Looking Face Often Leads to a Higher Paycheck

Multiple studies have revealed that attractive people can earn more money throughout their careers. According to Hofstra University psychology professor Comila Shahani-Denning:

“A review of the literature supports the notion that being physically attractive is an advantage when applying for a job.”

This fact has continually proved true since social psychologists and economists started researching the question 50 years ago. Our preference for attractive faces in general appears to be hard-wired. On the job, good-looking people receive greater benefits than an increased likelihood of getting hired. As Cialdini wrote:

“The advantage given to attractive workers extends past hiring day to payday. Economists examining U.S. and Canadian samples have found that attractive individuals get paid an average of 12 to 14 percent more than their unattractive co-workers.”

These days, who wouldn’t want a higher paycheck?

Business Success Comes Easier to Attractive People

Good-looking people often make excellent salespeople. How do looks make a difference in sales success? Surprising results came from an unexpected industry – pharmaceutical sales.

Several medications may achieve similar results for various conditions. Drug companies employ salespeople to provide physicians with samples, answer questions, and persuade them to prescribe specific drugs. Of course, doctors should focus on their patients’ needs and ignore other considerations. Could pharmaceutical salespeople’s looks influence them?

Arizona State University professor Cheryl Jarvis asked physicians to grade the appearance of the drug company salespeople who called on them. Then, she researched which medications they prescribed. It turned out that the higher a salesperson’s attractiveness rating, the more prescriptions doctors wrote for their company’s medications. Even physicians striving to be objective could not escape the pull of a good-looking face.

Executives also benefit from looking better. Human Resource Management reports that researchers examined all 861 of the CEOs who served in S&P 500 companies over a 10-year period. First, they rated their facial attractiveness. Then, they looked at paychecks. With few exceptions, they discovered “the effect of CEO facial attractiveness on compensation is not only robust but also economically significant.”

Salespeople and executives achieve more success when they look their best. Can this same effect benefit you?

Increasing Your Odds for Success in a Challenging Economy

As we’ve seen, a substantial body of research shows attractive people are more likely to get good-paying jobs and earn more throughout their careers. How can this information benefit you?

If you’re in your late 50s or 60s, you may deal with age discrimination. Examining years of studies, Cornell HR Review found that employees who look old or unattractive may be subject to layoffs.

An experienced, board-certified facial plastic surgeon can help you eliminate noticeable signs of aging such as undereye bags, saggy eyelids, jowls, deep nasolabial folds, and a turkey neck. A deep-plane facelift can do wonders from the midface through the neck. Upper or lower blepharoplasty will rejuvenate your eyelids. You can look younger for a decade or more.

If you’re in your 40s and early 50s, you’ll want to slow your facial aging and maintain your natural good looks. BOTOX® and Bellafill can effectively treat wrinkles and volume loss. A neck lift can eliminate a turkey neck or double chin. A SMAS facelift will firm and rejuvenate your lower face and jaw, while reducing marionette lines, wrinkles, and moderate jowls. It cannot give you the dramatic improvements seen with the deep-plane facelift, so it’s perfect for those with moderate facial aging. An experienced specialist can recommend the right treatment.

If you’re younger than 40, you can improve your chances of getting your dream job and paycheck by correcting any perceived flaws that may make you less attractive. That could include getting an otoplasty to pin protruding ears, a nose job, or an implant to bolster a receding chin. You have undoubtedly made a significant investment in your education. Ensuring you look your best at your job interview can help you recoup these costs.

As discussed in “Cut Cost of College, Reduce College Debt with Good Planning and Cosmetic Surgery,”  going into debt to attend a prestigious university may not deliver the best results. You may well come out ahead graduating from a quality program at a “value college” – a school that excels in specific areas despite lower tuition rates. The article contains a list of examples of colleges whose graduates are as competitive as those from more expensive universities. Attractive value college graduates can do even better than competing students with more substantial college debt.

If you value success, you’ll want to pay attention to the study results described in this post. It’s true that the best performers often have intangible soft skills that contribute to their career trajectories, and these may not directly relate to appearance. Still, in most cases, there’s a significant advantage to being attractive. If you’d like to find out how you can improve your looks at an affordable cost, why not schedule your free consultation at STC Plastic Surgery?