Looks matter. If someone tells you that looks don’t matter, he’s wrong.

You don’t need to look like Brad Pitt or Beyonce to be successful, but you do have to put your best foot forward at all times. You tell the world what to think of you based on how you present yourself.

Your family and closest friends may look past your appearance. However, employers and individuals you meet throughout your career will subconsciously make judgments about your character, your personality, your intelligence, and your overall value as a human being based on what they see when they look at you. It might not be fair, but it’s a reality.

You might not like the analogy, but you need to see yourself as a product that you are marketing and selling 24-7-365. Looking your best is not about being phony or artificial; it’s just about taking pride in your presentation.

Here’s a quick analogy to demonstrate the power of appearances and marketing. A typical bottle of water sells for $1 or so at the store. However, there is a “luxury” brand of water that has been endorsed by Jaimee Foxx and other celebrities. It’s called Bling H20, and it has crystals embedded into the outside of each bottle. What does Bling H20 sell for?

$40 per bottle!

I’ve never drank Bling H20, but I bet that it does not taste 40 times better than Poland Spring or Aquafina. Why does it sell for 40 times more? Because it looks a lot better.

People pay more for products that appear to be of higher quality. Similarly, employers pay more for candidates and employees who appear to be of higher quality.

Salary negotiation doesn’t just happen when an employer makes you a job offer or when an employer brings you in for an annual performance review. Salary negotiation begins the moment you come in contact with an employer, and it never ends.

Want to negotiate a higher salary and be paid what you are truly worth throughout your career? Then, make sure you look your absolute best at all times on paper, online, and in-person.


Pete Leibman is the Author of the new book titled “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You”  (AMACOM, 2012).  His career advice has been featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN, and he is a popular Keynote Speaker  at career events for students and recent grads and at conferences for people who work with college students and recent grads.