Think being smart and working hard is enough? Think again. Unfortunately, when it comes to looks, the deck is often stacked against the majority of men and women alike -- namely the “normals,” or those don't resemble models or movie stars.
Unsurprisingly, research demonstrates that attractive folks are more likely to land everything from startup pitches to job interviews. They’re even considered more trustworthy. This “beauty bias” can eventually cost you in cold, hard dollars. According to a Yale study conducted by U.S. economist Daniel Hamermesh, attractive men can earn 9 percent more than their average-looking colleagues, while attractive women could see a bump of up to 4 percent.
Of course, you can’t always change your looks -- or how people receive them. Most of our ideas about standards of beauty are so remarkably skewed and culturally entrenched, we’re not even always aware of them. Case in point, a recent study from Abertay University in Scotland found that a woman that's seen as wearing too much makeup can affect people’s perception of her ability to lead. But there is much that’s still in your control.
"Individuals at all levels of attractiveness aren't defenseless, so to speak, in that they can take action and should take action," says Gordon Patzer, Ph.D. and founder of the Appearance Research Institute.
Hamermesh agrees. "There is very little you can do to make yourself better-looking, but you can present yourself better," says the author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful.
To that end, here are five strategies to give yourself every advantage in spite of the biases most of us will face at some point in our careers.