We all know that it pays to be beautiful if you’re a model or an actress, but can beauty improve your career prospects? As an infographic we posted in December shows, it sure does, with attractive workers earning up to 10 to 15% more than their unattractive counterparts. Not only that, but it impacted on whether they were called back for a second job interview and even in their early years, with how they were treated at school by their teachers! Yes, the milestone you can achieve in your career depends not only on your dedication and effort; but also on how others perceive you. So those are the facts, but why is it the case? In a business environment, if you don’t look the part of a leader, it’s likely that you won’t be given the role. It’s tough, but true – many employers perceive that a well-turned-out manager will not only have self-confidence, but also be able to inspire and lead their team to success, a trait considered the bedrock of genuine leaders. They have something called ‘executive presence’. And in some Asian countries, where a photo on your job application forms an essential section, there can be no hiding your looks – they simply form part of your first (paper) impression. As people are instinctively drawn to faces, it stands to reason that the photo is probably the first part that prospective employers look at, before reading about your ample experience or brilliant qualifications. So it makes sense that women want to make the best first impression they can. The same even goes for men. Dr Nasir, a Consultant Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon Medical Director at Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre, explains, “In the corporate world, there’s a lot of emphasis on image, and image goes with self confidence.” He continues, “A lot of people do invest money in improving their looks because they feel this is one way they can go up the corporate ladder.” Now is the time to decide what you want your future career to look like. Do you long for more success and wish to climb further up the corporate ladder? Do you feel as though you are being held back, not by ambition or ability, but rather by the way that you are perceived? It could be time to change that.