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Students splash cash on looks for jobs
Updated: 2004-10-20 08:25

Competition among university students for jobs has led many to spend lavish amounts of money on their physical appearance.

Two girl college graduates ask for employment information at a employment fair. [newsphoto]
Students, especially women, say they need a competitive edge and want to look better to impress prospective employers.

More than 2,000 students lined up yesterday outside Shanghai Qunlin Photography Workshop, one of the most popular photo studios nicknamed "magic studio" by students, to make reservations for a session.

Students will be charged 50 yuan (US$6) for a set of job-seeking photos with makeup, double the common price. Employees say they can not take any photos of the students until the end of November.

Others are spending money on expensive suits, going to beauty salons or even having plastic surgery - just to enhance their competitiveness in the job market.

Zhu Lin, a senior at East China University of Politics and Law, spent about 1,000 yuan to have her hair treated and dyed this week to prepare for an upcoming campus recruitment fair by multinational firms.

To appear more beautiful and professional, Zhu, who has no income, also purchased a line of skin-care products as well as several suits this semester.

She has spent a total of 3,000 yuan, her scholarship savings.

"I already have a deficit and almost have to starve starting next month," Zhu said.

Zhu said a couple of her classmates even had plastic surgeries to make their eyes bigger in preparation for future interviews.

"Everyone wants to look great. That will help raise confidence for interviews," Zhu said.

She is not alone. A recent survey of 3,475 fresh university graduates indicates that more than 30 percent of students surveyed believe cosmetic surgery will improve their employment prospects.

However, investing large amounts of money on appearance is not wise, said Jim Yang, general manager at ChinaHR, the survey's conductor.

"For most positions, appearance plays only a tiny role in recruitment and getting hired," Yang said. "It is more important for students to compete with their internal qualities, skills and intelligence."

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