What's your problem?

It's been said that I'm an attractive girl. Should I use this to help me find a job?

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 23 Aug 2011

I am a recent female graduate in my early 20s and have been temping while I try to find a permanent job in the City. I'm not wishing to blow my own trumpet or anything, but it's been said that I am an attractive girl, as well as one who possesses the skills necessary for my chosen career of working in financial services. Yet I still can't get a job. I'm aware that I have a certain effect on men, so how wrong would it be for me to use my sex appeal to get me where I want? It's a tough world out there at the moment, so surely I need to use all my assets to get me where I want to be?

A: You're probably right to assume that the laddish City culture is still alive and well. Recent wails of anguish about the threats to City strip clubs suggest that you are. But you're probably wrong to assume that the shortest way to a permanent job in the City is through overt use of your sex appeal.

You probably see it as simple pragmatism; but were it to work (which I question: see later), just think through the consequences. Before your first day in your new job, you'd have made it wordlessly clear that you were entirely happy to be judged not on your professional competence but on your 'assets'. And, like it or not, you'd be stuck with that reputation, with all the 'jokes' and witless innuendo that came with it.

If you then, through behaviour, tried to correct that impression, you'd be seen, not without justice, to have been a calculating tease. Your life would be made a misery. To shed a reputation you yourself had deliberately encouraged, you might well have to leave and start all over again.

Remember that you'll be interviewed by more than one person and probably by a panel. Not every member of that panel will be a sexist male. If you try to come over as strongly as you suggest, you'll not only seem slightly desperate - you'll also turn at least one member of that panel firmly against you.

You clearly have a naturally attractive personality. Don't try to exaggerate it. Let your professionalism match your personal attributes; and get hired for what you are, rather than for what (I hope) you're not.

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