In writing the post on using what you’ve got, I left off with, what if you are unattractive (or some other special something) and don’t have that advantage? We’ve interviewed hundreds of job candidates in the past 20+ years, some of whom have not been attractive. Yet, we have hired some of them and not others, and we have not made hiring decisions based on the attractiveness factor. That said, we have made hiring decisions, or not to hire decisions, because some of these people did not use what they had to the best of their abilities. I am thinking of 2 candidates specifically, one male, one female. Neither of them were attractive, and both were overweight. The problem was, in the case of the man, he arrived to the interview wearing an oversized, and partially untucked, button down shirt. He was sloppy and oblivious of that point. Both of these candidates complained of the heat, and both went as far as saying, “Oh, it is hot in Florida (duh!) so I left my jacket in the car” and, the woman said “I’m wearing flip flops (with my suit) because of the heat” also. Neither of these job candidates had the sense to dress for success and look as good as they could have. For those and other reasons, they were not hired. But, the point overall is look the part. If you have attractiveness on your side, use it. If you have something else, use that too. If you are lacking on any of these “superficial” factors, make the most of what you have and put your best self forward!
Because ratings of attractiveness are, for the most part, universally accepted within one’s culture, it follows that most people also recognize the traits of unattractiveness. In addition, social psychological research has revealed most people are adept at rating themselves on the attractiveness continuum, such that, if one has a mirror, his/her self perceptions are usually consistent with other people’s. Apparently, however, many people do not own a mirror! (This explains why some people wear tiny swimsuits when they need full body coverage; why others wear socks (of any color) with sandals; and a host of other fashion faux pas!) When one is overweight, there are many techniques one can employ to train the observer’s eye away from one’s weight, such as wearing attractive, loose fitting garments; using tasteful accessories; and maintaining an overall clean and “put together” look. When one is overweight, unattractive, or both, and one dresses in ways that accentuate one’s flaws, it is likely the observer will focus mostly on one’s flaws instead of other, perhaps more positive, traits. In the examples David mentioned about job candidates, I will add that, regardless of one’s level of attractiveness and one’s weight, he/she will never, ever get a job in our company if he/she wears flip flops to the interview! And, neither will the person who shows up looking unkempt with an rumpled and untucked dress shirt. Or the person with a nose ring. I could go on, but suffice it to say, most people have some positive traits, but if they conduct themselves in ways that accentuate negative traits, most people are unlikely to take time to find out about the positives.