Answer by Aakanksha Joshi on Quora.
I think it’s naive to think that looks don’t matter at all in most careers.
This is more obvious in case of careers like modeling, acting or anything media or fashion related. Even fashion designers, stylists and other behind the scenes people need to look good because people perceive that if they know how to look good, then they would probably know how to make others look good.
In other careers, especially those which are client facing, looks do matter. People are predisposed to being more receptive to pleasant looking people. The degree of good looks varies from industry to industry and the effects are more subtle, in more serious work spaces. Even if a person isn’t good looking, if he or she is well groomed, he or she is received more positively.
However, good looks are not a substitute for actual competence. It may get your foot in the door, but if you don’t perform then it doesn’t matter. Also for more technical careers, good looks alone would not even get your foot in the door.
There is also a downside to being good looking. People sometimes don’t take obviously good looking people seriously and tend to understimate or worse patronize them in many careers.
This question originally appeared on Quora: How do looks affect one’s career?