Job-seeking graduates urged to add nip and tuck to their CVs
Will Clem and Lilian Zhang in Shanghai
Fresh graduates in Shanghai are being encouraged to go under the knife in order to gain a competitive edge in the job market.
A plastic surgery clinic in the city has been holding promotional events at universities to persuade students that a quick nip and tuck can be as effective in clinching an interview as a clean shirt and smart haircut.
Shanghai Time Plastic Surgery Hospital is even offering special 'student discounts' on everything from beauty treatments to nose jobs.
'We want to do something to help the students in this financial crisis,' said Liao Yuhua, director of the clinic. 'Competition for jobs is tougher than ever this year.'
She said the clinic had been working with career advice centres at several local universities to run briefing sessions and claimed there was strong interest from students. 'We have several students coming in for consultations every single day.'
While most were only looking for beauty treatment, she said some had work done on their noses or chins.
'A girl may have a very pretty face but a large nose,' she said. 'If she has something done to reduce its size a little then she will be even prettier.'
Dr Liao denied the campaign was simply a ploy to drum up business amid the downturn.
'Our business really hasn't been affected by the financial crisis at all,' she said. 'We were actually busier this spring than we were in spring last year.'
The clinic would conduct a 'complete evaluation' before any surgery, she added, stressing that this included a psychological assessment.
'Some people clearly only want cosmetic surgery because they have low self-esteem,' she said. 'We have to make sure they realise that having cosmetic surgery will not make you become perfect instantly.'
Mao Jingyi, a final-year student at Shanghai Lixin University of Commerce, was at the clinic for a pre-treatment consultation yesterday. She said she was considering treatment on her skin and teeth.
The 22 year-old said she had not discussed her plans with her parents, but she was hoping they would be supportive. 'I think they will be fine with it. I need them to help pay for the treatment.'
Wang Xiaowen, who was due to graduate from Shanghai Arts & Crafts Vocational College, said he was considering having work to slim down his pronounced cheeks and build up his small chin, which he believed would help him get his foot in the door in the design industry.
'Outward appearance is important,' he said. 'It is bound to have an impact.' He said he would be prepared to pay up to 5,000 yuan (HK$5,650) for the treatment.
Annie Lim, human resources development director for Adecco Personnel Services, said 'having a good look' could be an advantage in industries that emphasised customer relations, but employers were more interested in a candidate's skills and what they could do on the job.
'People don't need plastic surgery if they have strong self-confidence to compete for a job position.'