Could looking good get you a new job?

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  • We all know the importance of first impressions, but a French initiative is offering women makeovers to help reduce unemployment

    The French think a little elegance will go along way towards boosting the confidence of job seeking women, while boosting their appeal to prospective employers.

    Action Relooking, an employment initiative for women, aims to provide a dozen women a month with a professional makeover to increase their confidence and cut the unemployment rate.

    The scheme is the brainchild of the national employment agency Pole Emploi. ‘The first impression is very important,’ says 55 year-old Martine Catoire, a jobseeker looking for work as a sales assistant. ‘If we appear to neglect ourselves it can let people think that we also neglect our work.’

    Other women have echoed her beliefs adding that it is easy to let yourself go during a depressing long-term stint of unemployment.

    Alexandra Sebbah, 38, has been looking for a secretarial job since 2008. She says: ‘Unemployment is psychologically very hard. This is a special day that provides a boost for me.’

    The enterprise offers women advice from what to wear for interviews – which according to experts, depends on the complexities of your personality, aspirations and budget – to make-up and hairstyles.

    Officials say that women looking for jobs feel undervalued, so making them feel good about themselves will help to relieve stress during interviews and is more likely to make them appear convincing.

    But feminist groups have accused Pole Emploi of using women’s looks in a derogatory manner. A French feminist website says: ‘The majority of bosses are men. Make-up and fashionable clothes will give confidence to whom? These male bosses.’

    Dominique, 57 year-old unemployed secretary is under no illusion that the pamper day will increase the likelihood of her finding a job. ‘The problem is my age not my appearance,’ she says. ‘In one year I have not had a single interview.’

    Do you agree that feeling confident in yourself would help you shine in an interview? Perhaps you agree with the feminist view that women should not have to make themselves look pretty to get a job? Whatever your thoughts, Marie Claire wants to hear from you by posting a comment below.


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