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Why acting like a supermodel could help you get your next job

Karlie Kloss waves at cameras while attending the Met Gala.
Karlie Kloss is one of the world's most successful supermodels. (Image: Getty).

Beautiful people are more likely to succeed at work, but their less photogenic counterparts can reap the same benefits by mimicking attractive people’s behaviour, a new study has found.

The University of Buffalo study set out to find if attractive people’s good looks was the sole reason they went further at work, or if there were more factors at play.

It found that while winning the genetic lottery does help, attractive people also develop certain character traits that help them get ahead.

And these traits can be mimicked.

"We wanted to examine whether there's an overall bias toward beauty on the job, or if attractive people excel professionally because they're more effective communicators," said Min-Hsuan Tu, PhD, assistant professor of organisation and human resources in the UB School of Management.


"What we found was that while good looking people have a greater sense of power and are better nonverbal communicators, their less-attractive peers can level the playing field during the hiring process by adopting a powerful posture."

To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers evaluated 300 participants’ mock elevator pitches across two experiments. The first study found that good looking people were more hireable as they had a stronger nonverbal presence.

Then, in the second test, certain participants were asked to adopt a “power pose” while delivering their pitch. In this study, the less attractive participants were able to match the nonverbal presence that their attractive counterparts instinctually displayed.

Participants’ power pose involved standing with their hands on their hips, chest up and chin out, with their feet shoulder apart.

"By adopting the physical postures associated with feelings of power and confidence, less attractive people can minimise behavioural differences in the job search," Tu said.

"But power posing is not the only solution - anything that can make you feel more powerful, like doing a confidence self-talk, visualising yourself succeeding, or reflecting on past accomplishments before a social evaluation situation can also help."

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