Self-Assessment Quiz: True or False

  1. What I wore in college is okay to wear in my new role because I work in Silicon Valley and we have a relaxed dress code. TRUE / FALSE
  2. I look this way because I can’t afford to buy nicer clothes. TRUE / FALSE
  3. I usually just roll out of bed and grab the first thing in my closet. TRUE / FALSE
  4. I prefer the less-is-more look when it comes to hair and makeup, so I don’t wear any makeup. TRUE / FALSE

I know I’m going to get some hate mail for this post, but it’s my blog and my opinion, so let’s get this cold, hard truth out of the way right off the bat. “Attractive people earn an average of 3 percent to 4 percent more than people with below-average looks,” according to Daniel Hamermesh in his book Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful (Princeton University Press, 2013).

So what are you saying, Cheryl? Only pretty people get hired? Read that quote again, please. It didn’t once mention the word “pretty.” It said “attractive.” And in my opinion, anyone and everyone can be attractive, if they take the time and pay attention to how they dress, act, and carry themselves.

Why is this important? Did you read the quote? You can earn an average of 3 to 4 percent more if you just spend some time caring about how you present yourself to the world. To me, that’s the definition of attractive. And if how much you earn at the start of your career plays a critical role in how much you earn going forward, doesn’t it only make sense to get as much as you’re worth right from the start? If your looks can help with that, why not maximize them to your benefit?!

I know the world has changed! Gone are the days when you were expected to show up wearing the same dark blue or black business suit for each and every job interview you went on. However, it does not hurt one iota to dress up for an interview. Even if you’re applying for a tech position at the latest internet or social media company du jour in Silicon Valley, or a hip retail establishment, it won’t hurt you to show up for that first conversation looking like you care about personal hygiene and cleanliness, or that you know how to use a comb. No matter how smart you are. I stand firm on my assertion that you work better when you feel better about yourself. That includes your appearance. So if you answered TRUE to the quiz questions above, I encourage you to rethink your strategy for long-term success. Dress for success still means something. I don’t care if the rest of the work crew is wearing flip flops. Standing out can pay off in the long run.


  • Lisa

    I weighed 150 pounds and through lifestyle changes lost a little over 40 pounds. I’m 5’2” and I was wearing size 0-2. Not only did my earnings go up 36.4%, but I dated better. Men would buy me gifts to our dates and I was not sleeping with any of them. People would give me free stuff, too.

    It hurt me when I was introduced to a guy, who I’d met several times before, but it was as if he’d never met me before when I was 110 pounds. I have an unusual name so you’d think something would have clicked. He was kind and attentive and I didn’t give him the time of day.

    Cheryl, you’re right.

    • Powerful Penny

      Lisa thank you for sharing such a personal story. And for reminding us that we can still be attractive even when we are at an unhealthy weight. But how our unhealthy lifestyle makes us feel can impact our work life and other relationships. Congratulations on finding your next level of best as it relates to your weight. I’m working on getting to my next level of best in that area too! Your post is inspirational.

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