Have you joined our career growth club?

Your Appearance Matters to Interviewers

Dear J.T. & Dale: I'll be completing my master's degree soon and will be sending out my resume. I have apprehensions, and they are not about my resume, work history or education. They are because of my teeth. I constantly have cavities and have been without dental insurance. I do not have the cash to pay for work I need. Because of 1800s-looking teeth, I do not like to smile. We all know that employers judge based on a person's looks, so what can I do? - Sarah J.T.: You are wise to be concerned. Looks do matter. BUT confidence and personality matter more. I don't expect you to flash a grin, but have a good closed-lip smile, make good eye contact and make sure your eyes are smiling. Let hiring managers see that you'll be an enthusiastic, upbeat employee. DALE: I'd like to join in on that pep talk, I really would. But if I understand what you mean by "1800s teeth," a good attitude is not enough. Assuming you're competing for jobs at a level a master's degree would suggest, the organization is going to see you as representing the company to customers and suppliers, and they'll care about the impression you make. So I'd urge you to find a dentist who can offer a temporary solution, or find a payment plan that will cover enough work to let you show a confident smile. Otherwise, you'll severely limit your options, and that would be so unfortunate. J.T.: Of course the best option would be to get some work done. Given the statistics on how much more attractive people are paid, it even would be a good investment. But if that's not possible, you can still go into the interview happy and positive. DALE: If so, one way to keep from being self-conscious is to focus on one thing: making the interviewer smile. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Appearance matters interviewer image from Shutterstock