How Much Do Looks Matter… In Business?

3a4a866At a conference I attended the other day, I saw a booth providing free business head-shots. Since my last headshot was dated and the one I use here on LinkedIn was a cell phone selfie, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity.

Now, since I didn’t plan on getting my picture taken that day, I’m sure I needed a touch up here and there, but I was quite surprised to see the outcome. Below is a picture of the original shot and the touch-up. Apparently, to get an attractive business photo, I not only needed a face-lift, but a nose job and teeth whitening!

I started to do some research an found an interesting 2009 article in Forbes called, “Think Looks Don’t Matter? Think Again”

It quotes a landmark study from Cornell University that found “when white females put on an additional 64 pounds, her wages drop by 9%.” Additionally, other studies show that “although there’s no correlation between height & effectiveness or intelligence, a woman who is 5 feet 7 inches tall — well above the national female average of 5 feet 3.5 inches — will make $5,250 more over the course of a year than a female co-worker standing 5 feet 2 inches.”

In the competitive work environment of today, it shouldn’t be surprising that any and all factors — including looks — are being evaluated. Ultimately, no matter how talented, confident or secure we feel, each of us is going to have to deal with that reality in our own way.

I guess I should be thankful to the photographer who was trying to do me a favor. In the end though, this 5 foot 3 inch tall business woman is just going to have to take her chances.

Leave a Comment