It is a symptom of our media-obsessed world that so much value is put into the art of presentation these days - and never more so than in the jobs market.
Whether recruiters are looking to attract talent, or people are actively searching for new jobs and careers, how you look and present yourself is increasingly becoming as important as your CV.
Companies will always want to put the best gloss on their organisation and the job on offer, whilst candidates will always seek to look their best and present the correct image for the job they are applying for.
Well, they would, wouldn't they. And so would you.
It's just that more and more, the image of an organisation as seen through the multiplicity of media options available today, requires organisations to seek out those who are considered to look the part, rather than those who don't.
This gives a somewhat disjointed Ė and, I suspect, false - impression that there are more SAD (Self-Absorbed Dimwit) managers in the marketplace than BUB's (Butt Ugly & Brilliant) managers. At a guess, I'd say it's somewhere around a fifty/fifty split.
And yet image and presentation are such important factors in business these days it's becoming increasingly harder to rationalise the trade off between a candidate who looks the part versus one who can do the job.
Let's face it - it's going to be nigh on impossible for the former to mysteriously 'grow a brain' at a swish of a wand, whereas transforming the latter is often eminently more achievable.
Unfortunately, I suspect more appointments are made on the basis of the former than the latter, simply because human beings are built to respond that way.
We make judgements about people within 10 seconds of meeting them, and have a greater propensity to judge the book by its cover than its content, in spite of all the training and guidelines to the contrary.
So, how do candidates overcome such obstacles on their journey to the boardroom (or wherever) ?
The keep-it-simple-stupid answer is self-awareness and self-confidence. You are what you are, so be what you are, not what you think someone else expects you to be.
Most professional recruiters - and even some of the more enlightened and aware bosses - will see through the make-up and veneer and find the real you, whether you want them to find it or not.
So my advice is to just front up at the start and save them and you a whole load of 'fishing'. Nothing sells better than the real Magoo. The best prospective employer is the one who sees you for what you are and what you bring to their organisation, and not how good you might look as a chattel on the corporate shelf collecting dust.