There's nothing we like better at Vault than when our readers get involved and let us know their opinions. And there's precious little out there that more people have an opinion on than the issue of whether someone's looks should affect their chances of success in the job market and their professional life.
Vault's Jon Minners touched on this issue a couple of weeks ago when he wrote about beautifuljobseekers.com, a new site that only accepts job seekers once they've submitted a photo that has been deemed attractive enough. As you might imagine, Jon's opinion of beautifuljobseekers.com sparked a lively debate in the comments thread--and one that continues to this day. On that note, we wanted to highlight the following opinion, submitted by one of the commenters, as it represents another facet of the debate altogether: not so much a justification of companies using a candidate's look to screen them as a willingness to take advantage of this as just another element in "working the system." And remember: when you get done reading it, there's still nothing we like more than to see your comments!
I was just recently introduced to the BeautifulJobSeekers.com site through a newsletter Monster.com sends out that is primarily targeted to females. I was intrigued by the site so I decided to submit my profile. Career-wise, I’ve always had jobs in fields spanning from retail & outside sales to promotional modeling, marketing and as a brand ambassador for specific companies or products. In many of these positions, whether it was clearly stated by the employer or not, there was no question that the employer was seeking an attractive female/male to represent the company.
In my chosen career path as an actress, I am constantly seeing companies that are looking for a specific “type” of individual. To be clear, these are NOT production companies making these decisions…these are MAJOR brands that we see and are a part of our lives everyday, asking casting studios to seek out these specific “types” FOR THEM. BUT no one sees that side of the business…do they?
In every commercial we see…in every magazine, there are beautiful people that were CHOSEN to be featured strictly because they represent the client’s ideal of an image that best parallels with that company’s brand and/or image.
I can understand women of generations previous to mine being offended by this site and idea. I understand it is because their generation has fought so hard to be considered as equals to men in the job market…and I can say that I could never thank them enough. It is only through their efforts that women have become so empowered. This empowerment has led the women of my generation to adapt to today’s job market & economy and learn to use “our assets” to OUR advantage.
I am a 20-something woman and completely secure with myself. I am well-aware that my looks and body type has gotten me opportunities others could not have gotten. Do I feel good about this? The answer is no. Do I feel like unattractive people have a lesser place in the job market? Hell no! But, let’s be fair, in this economy and with unemployment as LOW as it is…I’m willing to use every resource I have available to me to get a job. It’s an uber-competitive world out there, and hate me or not for it, I’m going into that job interview with both guns loaded, so to speak.
Don’t for a second think that I am “sleeping” my way to the top or using any part of my body as a gift of trade. I never have–NEVER will. But just the same, I am not naive to the fact that my looks have gotten me more sales in my sales jobs and thus made me more money in the long run. Was the employer smart for hiring a pretty, charming girl to cold call on businesses??…probably so. Because I can assure you, if I was making money, than he sure as hell was too.
So, as a woman of my generation, I can say these things keeping 100% integrity intact: I am smart – street & book smart, I am a college graduate, I know what assets I have (professionally & physically) and I know how to use them to MY advantage without doing anything that would be compromising my morals. More simply, I think of it as realizing someone’s weakness/desire for an attractive person and molding that weakness/desire to fit MY long term goal & needs.
Ultimately, whether we’d like to realize it or not, we’ve all been judged at one time or another based on our appearance. For me, I realize it, hate the truth of it…and then find a way to put the power back into MY OWN HANDS. So I say, for the women who find this site and are at the the stage of “hate it”…well, now’s the absolute perfect time to put “the power back into YOUR OWN HANDS.”
Use it to YOUR advantage…
JobSeeker who’s working the system