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Best Smile Forward: What a Smile Tells an Employer

Job interviews can get stressful. After all, you’re basically trying to sell your qualities and skills to a potential employer. You’re also up against other individuals who likely have similar experiences, qualifications, and skills as you do.

The way you crafted your resume and the references you put in it undoubtedly play a big role in making a positive first impression. However, there’s more to making a memorable first impression — your appearance and mannerisms matter, too. Many job applicants select their interview-day outfit carefully and practice making a firm handshake and direct eye contact.

One other thing that has a significant effect on your first impression is your smile. A confident and winning smile matters when you greet your interviewer. In fact, some people would save up for dental treatments or orthodontic appliances (like braces or retainers) before applying for a new job. It helps boost their confidence and the impression they leave on others.

Perception is the Key

Having a confident smile improves how other people perceive you. Almost 50 percent of American adults believe that smiles leave a more memorable or lasting impression than what the person says (25 percent), wears (9 percent), or smells like (8 percent).

Moreover, how your teeth look matters, as well. A person can still smile confidently even with crooked or yellow teeth, but the impression they leave on others is often poorer than those with flawless smiles. Survey results show that people consider crooked, stained, or otherwise “flawed” teeth as less attractive (37 percent) and less confident (25 percent).

Bad teeth, in turn, can affect whether or not you get a job offer. It’s not just new job applicants that may fall victim to the negative bias against imperfect teeth and smiles. Tenured and qualified employees seeking a promotion may also be passed over in favor of others.

The Power of Better Teeth

Whiter or straighter teeth improve not just how other people see you but also how you see yourself. Smiling can raise your confidence and help boost your mental health. Studies show that smiling can help bring up your mood, reduce stress, and strengthen your immune system.

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Smiling can trick your brain into a happier state of mind and produce real feelings of happiness. The muscle activity when you smile registers in your brain as an indicator of humor or a joyous event, even if that’s not the case. Additionally, other studies suggest that smiling can help lower blood pressure.

First Impressions in the Digital Age

Your smile and the state of your teeth matters even more in the digital age. First impressions no longer limited to personal encounters. Your potential employers are likely searching for you online and checking out your social media pages. Their perception of who you are will likely be based on the information you put online — including your profile picture.

Make sure to choose a social media profile picture that’s tasteful, work appropriate, and representative of who you are or the brand you want to portray. A profile picture with a wide, confident smile leaves a more positive first impression than a pouting face, a baby picture, or a cartoon caricature.

A winning smile can be the key to an enriching career. Even if you’re anxious or stressed out as you wait for your turn, put a smile on your face to help calm yourself and ensure you present a positive disposition when you’re called for the interview.

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