Look the Part -- "What does matter is making the most of what you've got, and in business, this means carefully honing your appearance, so that you look like you are already a long-standing member of the group."
Handling Looking Too Good -- "It's important to remember not to use your looks when you've got so much else going on for you. Because it will come back to haunt you -- it always does."
Uniform Appearance -- The key is to balance looking your best with avoiding standing out too much. And don't outspend your boss. If your boss can't afford Prada, it's not going to help you get a raise if you wear it.
Here's my take on the whole "use your looks to get ahead" concept:
1. No, it shouldn't matter how you look, but it does.
2. Good-looking people have a distinct advantage.
3. That said, you can be too good looking (a "hot" woman or "buff" guy might get stereotyped.)
4. While looks will give you an edge, you still need an acceptable level of substance. Otherwise, you're deadmeat.
5. If you are better-than-average, use it to your advantage. All's fair in love and the work world, isn't it?
6. Don't over-do it. Wearing a mini-skirt or tank top won't fly in most places and will hurt your career more than help it.
7. For the rest of us, cover the basics: dress appropriately, have proper hygiene, etc.
I've never been the best-looking guy around so I don’t have personal experience using my looks to my advantage. But I have hired a good-looking person before -- and it was a disaster. Here's the short version of the story:
Several years ago my boss hired a woman (more of a "girl" -- she was maybe 22 at the time) who had been a high-ranking finalist for Miss Tennessee. She was stunning. But he needed an assistant who had "more experience" and so he pawned her off on me since I needed one (then he told me how my wife was going to kill me for "hiring this woman" -- like I had any choice in it -- but that's a different story.)
Well, it turns out that this lady couldn't run a stapler or answer a phone, much less do a task that had more than one step. In addition, suddenly every single guy in the building started hanging out just outside my door (where she sat.) It was quite distracting. And while I could deal with the guys (by telling them to get lost), I couldn't handle her lack of ability. Eventually, I had to let her go before her 90-day probation time elapsed.
How about you? Have you had any experience with good-looking bosses, employees, or maybe even yourself as the beauty? If so, please share.