Career Advice: Get Paid More (Even If You’re Not a Model!)

May 5, 2005
Studies by economists show that “above average” looking people tend to earn higher salaries and get promoted more often than those with “average” or “below average” looks.
The results are in, and they’re ugly. Good-looking people make more money. It pays to be tall, dark and handsome . . . literally.Studies by economists show that “above average” looking people tend to earn higher salaries and get promoted more often than those with “average” or “below average” looks. (Visit for more information.) When compared to average looking people:
  • Attractive people earned 5 percent more
  • Overweight women earned 17 percent less
  • Taller people earned 2.6 percent more
  • Less attractive people earned 9 percent less.
I’m not sure exactly how these qualities are defined, but don’t despair if you, like me and most everybody else, aren’t exactly supermodel material.There are many other ways to improve your odds for a higher salary. It’s a matter of managing your visibility within the organization. It’s about creating a persona that outshines those of your counterparts.A career is more that just a job and it needs care and nurturing. You should have a personal plan for managing it just like you do your money (I hope).Start with a list of questions about your job.
  1. Do you like your job? We are going to operate on the premise that you do, but you would like to get paid what you are worth or more.

  2. Do you know what others in your job category are getting paid? That's a good place to start. Find out how your pay scale ranks with others. Don't go out and start asking all your associates what they make. That's a no-no. Do some research on the Internet. There are dozens of sites where you can get this information.

  3. Are you planning to stay with your company for a while?

  4. Do you feel like your job might be in jeopardy?

  5. Do you think your pay scale is fair?
Once you find out where you fit by answering the above questions, you need to set a plan in motion. Here is a short laundry list of easy things that you should do to build your professional persona:
  • Give a speech.

  • Attend a conference.

  • Write an article. (You might consider contacting the editors of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing to see how your expertise and their topics-of-interest line up.

  • Host a meeting.

  • Join an association.

  • Volunteer to help plan and execute a company-sponsored function.
The opportunities for increasing your visibility are endless. The most important thing is to do something every week or every other week to increase your exposure. Set aside an hour each week solely for self-promotion. I know you can squeeze it in. Keep a notebook to jot down ideas and thoughts about ways to campaign for yourself. You never know when inspiration might occur. The important thing is to seize the moment and do something about it.About the AuthorJoAnn Hines' specialty is packaging people. Whether you want to be paid more, you just lost your job, or you want to progress in the one you have, Ms. Hines’ advice and expertise can help you transform your personal brand. She can show you step by step how to increase your visibility, credibility and marketability with easy to use tutorials and templates.It is time to get started "Packaging Yourself." Email JoAnn at [email protected].
About the Author

JoAnn Hines |'s Resident Career Expert