Okay, from the outset I will insert this disclaimer. This post could be a bit controversial or seen as sexist or perhaps otherwise “unfair” – but it isn’t, and should be read with an open mind. Now to get to the issue. We all need to use what we’ve got (or have been given in life) to its fullest advantage. Business, jobs, work, marketing, etc. are difficult and we all compete on an unequal playing field. That’s reality. But, if one is blessed with certain attributes or skills or whatever else, these should be shown, not hidden. For example, I have had a discussion with some young women who are pursuing graduate degrees and then will be looking for professional work – the ones I have in mind are aspiring lawyers. As I explained this “use what you’ve got” thought, I have gotten push back saying, “but I want to be hired because I’m smart, not because I’m pretty.” I have had to explain that their beauty probably won’t get them hired, but it may get them an interview wherein they can shine in other ways. Because many people will be vying for the same jobs, everyone should use what they have to compete. (Interestingly, in the past 6 months I have received resumés from 2 women who were attractive. I know this because they had their photos on their resumé . Nice touch? Controversial? I’m not sure, neither had the qualifications we were seeking so they were not interviewed, but that extra item stood out.) There is plenty of research on the benefits of attractiveness and it applies equally to women and men. Some may say this is unfair to the unattractive, and maybe it is. Again, the point here is use what you can. All of this is true of getting a job as an employee. It is equally true in marketing a business or otherwise selling services and probably products as well.
David’s topic is controversial, however, the relationship between physical attractiveness and attributions has been the subject of social psychological research for many decades. There are countless social psychological studies that reveal a positive correlation between ratings of physical attractiveness and perceived personality traits, summarized as “what is beautiful is good.” This research has also revealed that, within a particular culture, there is widespread agreement on who is attractive and who is not. Numerous research findings point to the general conclusion that attractive people are perceived by others to have greater career success, a happier personal life, are more fun to be around, etc. than their less attractive counterparts. (Whether attractive people are, in reality, happier, more successful, etc. than other people is irrelevant; other people’s perceptions of them is the focus of this post.) Like it or not, most people are judged by others quickly and one of the first things we notice about others is their appearance, including, of course, whether they are attractive or not. In the competitive world in which we live, in order to get ahead of the competition, one must use whatever resources are available to stand out, be noticed, and be chosen. Thus, if one is fortunate enough to be attractive, one must understand it is his/her attractiveness that will be noticed before anything else. And, if one is fortunate to be intelligent, kind, and a decent human being, it won’t take long for other people to notice these traits too!