Naturally, I teach my students to write, but what gets more attention is inspiring them to look employable. Before job fairs and interviews, I’ve taught men to choose, tie, and wear a tie, and women to update their hair styles and choose modest, professional, flattering clothing. Want a real job? Then learn to look like a grown-up. If you’ve been an adult for a while, it could be time to update your hair style and the cut of your jackets.

This advice for male students reminded me to pass this idea along: http://artofmanliness.com/2011/09/22/style-tips-for-college-men/

So let’s encourage writers to the same career success. Most of us were nerds in high school. Many hang onto that image, even priding themselves on not caring for their looks. For some, it’s a defense, either fearing rejection, not realizing how good they’d really look if they gave the picture the right frame, or not knowing they could ask for help with this. Some even hide under a mop of hair and shapeless clothes to avoid a social life. Some would do something more for their looks but assume it would take too much time.

Actually, a great hair cut and a planned wardrobe can be great timesavers. And sure, you can be sloppy and get away with it. People will only think you’re eccentric. Aren’t all writers a little nuts? But writers are artists, and many of us consider beauty a cardinal virtue. Why not wear that on our sleeves? Why not look our best and even learn public speaking skills?

So if you haven’t changed your appearance since high school, try an experiment. Get a makeover artist to design a real hairstyle and see how you like it. Learn to use makeup effectively. Find out how it feels to let your beauty shine on the outside. (I had help myself: editing for image consultants has been one of the perks of my job.) I think you’ll find it raises your confidence and encourages your creativity. It can become a career breakthrough to be noticed in a crowd and discovered to be brainy as well. Go ahead–have it all!

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Text © Gwyn Nichols 2011. All rights reserved. WritersResort.com