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Grow a Beard, Get a Job


Javier Sanz was looking for a few freelance gigs on the online marketplace Upwork (formerly oDesk). Aware that he looked pretty young in his headshot, he Photoshopped a beard onto his normally cleanshaven face. His response rate jumped from 12 percent to 35 percent.


(Photo Credit: D Services/Flickr)

“Sanz specializes in online marketing, including search engine optimization, or SEO — the tricks that help you get your website noticed on the search engines run by Google and Microsoft,” writes Klint Finley at Wired. “He believes that similar techniques will become increasingly important on new-age job markets like [Upwork – formerly oDesk], which have become massively popular in recent years as employers eschew full-time employees in favor of farming out work to temps.”

Do You Know What You're Worth?

According to Sanz, the beard is only one of many techniques available to people who want to increase their odds of getting hired, including honing the profile itself.

Of course, a faux beard isn’t exactly an option available to women who want to look older and more trustworthy, as Jezebel‘s commenters pointed out, when the blog covered this story:

CanadianChick: So if you look too young, it’s harder to get jobs. But if you look too old, people think you’re too old for the job. How old are people supposed to look to be optimally employable and how can I freeze the aging process at that point?

Jan74: 27. You need to be forever 27 to have a job.

QueenoftheForest: Uh, no — 27 doesn’t work for women, as that is prime childbearing age, and potential employers don’t want any of that s$!#.

The answer, for women, is NO AGE.

Of course, there’s some debate if that kind of blatant discrimination is the cause of the gender wage gap, but you can understand people thinking so, given how hard it still is to get a job nowadays. With all the challenges facing job hunters — age discrimination, gender discrimination, bias against the long-term unemployed — it’s no wonder a few folks are turning to minor deceptions like these to generate employer interest.

What do you think, is Javier Sanz more trustworthy with a beard?

beard shot 

(Photo Credit: Javier Sanz via Wired)

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What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get hired? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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