Some employers give new meaning to poor judgment


American Apparel might have earned negative press when, among other things, it became known for being the company that asked job applicants to include a headshot with their resume - but at least they were forthright about it.

Unsettlingly, your corporate climb and accompanying salary often have more to do with how you look than how you perform (yes, even outside of American Apparel boardrooms).

Here are five bizarre (and quite obviously superficial) factors affecting your pay...

5 reasons you’re being under (or over) paid:


1. Dress for the job you want

And the salary will come with it.  A 2011 salary report by Payscale has proved that much to be true - at least for men. On the other hand, several other bodies of evidence have suggested that the way women dress in the workplace might impact their job security more than their pay. If dressed for the occasion, men will get the raise while women will get the promotion (and any pay bump that comes with it) - though this might be more prevalent in “sophisticated cities” such as New York, London, Milan, or Paris, according to Forbes, but less so in places like Las Vegas and Albuquerque.

2. Your bathroom scale could affect your pay scale

That extra dessert you had with dinner could see you lose up to $9,000 in pay a year, according a new study by Vanderbilt Law School assistant professor Jennifer Shinall. As few as 13 lbs. could make all the difference on your paycheck, researchers concede. The study concluded that heavy women earned, on average, $9,000 less than their average-weight counterparts, very heavy women earned $19,000 less, and very thin women earned $22,000 more. A Michigan study found just 5 percent of CEOs at top American companies are above average weight. In Canada, 44 percent of women aged 18 to 79 are considered average weight, 29 percent are considered overweight, 25 percent are considered obese, and 3 percent are considered underweight.


3. Chin up and stand tall - especially when negotiating a raise

You might want to wear stilts to your next meeting with the boss. A 2004 University of Florida study found workers were paid, on average, an additional $789 per year for every extra inch they had on their counterparts. A 6-inch height difference could mean a difference of $5,000 on a worker’s annual income. And you thought runway models had stiff competition.

4. Take it at face value

Too pretty and you could miss out on that corner office position. Not pretty enough and you might not get the job at all. What’s a gal (or guy) to do? According to a study at Yale University, workers rated as “more attractive” were paid, on average, a 5 percent premium while workers rated as “unattractive” lost out on an average of 9 percent in wages. Interestingly, while this rule applied to both men and women, only women faced pay discrimination for being too pretty - which mean those long locks, plumped lips and doe eyes might do you better in the selfie realm than in the corporate realm.


5. We’re not making this up

It’s turns out the make-up you wear or don’t wear could make or break your career. A few years ago, The Times reported on a career survey in which 64 percent of directors suggested that women who wore make-up looked more professional while 18 percent of directors said that women who do not wear make-up “look like they can’t be bothered to make an effort.”

A book by its cover

It’s human nature to judge a book by its cover, so it’s up to you to grace that cover however you’d like. Some things may be out of your control, but other things - like what you wear to the interview or how you use language to influence a prospective employer - are entirely in your hands (and closet, resume, and brain, too).

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