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Is there a “Beauty Advantage”? Newsweek Report Says Yes

A new special feature on Newsweek.com reports on what it calls “The Beauty Advantage” and says that the quest to look good isn’t just “a vain pursuit.”

The article explains how beauty can affect your career and life and argues that in today’s economy looking good is something that can’t be dismissed as frivolous.

“Economists have long recognized what’s been dubbed the ‘beauty premium’—the idea that pretty people, whatever their aspirations, tend to do better in, well, almost everything. Handsome men earn, on average, 5 percent more than their less-attractive counterparts (good-looking women earn 4 percent more); pretty people get more attention from teachers, bosses, and mentors; even babies stare longer at good-looking faces (and we stare longer at good-looking babies),” according to the article.

Economist Daniel Hamermesh concurs, saying that a good-looking man will make some $250,000 more during his career than his least-attractive counterpart. Thirteen percent of women and 10 percent of men say they’d consider cosmetic surgery if it made them more competitive at work, according to surveys by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and Newsweek respectively.

Newsweek also surveyed 202 corporate hiring managers and 964 members of the public on the topic. Fifty-six percent of hiring managers said that qualified but unattractive candidates are likely to have a harder time getting a job. Furthermore, more than half advised job seekers to spend as much time and money on “making sure they look attractive” as on perfecting a résumé.

The survey also asked hiring managers to rate nine character attributes from one to 10 of what they look for in candidates. Looks was third, after experience and confidence, and above where an applicant went to school.

The special feature also includes a variety of online essays, photo galleries, and interactive features on the “beauty advantage.”

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