Job seekers can now add Botox to the job search checklist just after resume and coverletter. In an increasingly youth-obsessed culture, job seekers look to physical enhancements to appear more confident and youthful in the job search. These enhancements vary from hair coloring, weight loss, Botox, and even plastic surgery.

And as the number of unemployed climbs above the 16 million mark, job seekers are becoming more conscious of ways to differentiate themselves from other candidates beyond experience and qualifications.

Oklahoma City salon owner, Greg Welchel has seen an increase in job seekers who are willing to spend money on hair cuts, highlights, and even waxing to gain a competitive edge. “Job seekers want to look and feel professional,” says Welchel. “And our salon can help them do that.”

And even with the Stock Market creeping above the 10,000 mark this last week job seekers have yet to feel the impact in the job market. According to the Labor Department reported unemployment claims ended the week of October 10th at 514,000 although down from the four week average of 531,500. And for those who are collecting unemployment, the expense associated with these cosmetic enhancements is a concern.

Aside from more traditional salon procedures, Botox has also been a popular and inexpensive choice for job seekers to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines that can give hiring managers and recruiters an indication of a candidate’s age. Although age discrimination is illegal, it is still a concern for candidates who are looking to increase their confidence and appear more healthy and vibrant.

Spas like Body Trends have also seen an increase in Botox and their VIP treatments that improve the appearance of cellulite, stretch marks, scars, wrinkles, and even varicose veins. Body Trends offers Botox injections for as little as $15.00 per unit. VIP treatment and other packages vary in price but are an effective alternative to more expensive plastic surgery.

Harvey Jenkins, the salon’s owner says, “Everyone’s looking for even the smallest thing to stand out in an interview. You can’t change your experience or your skills quickly, but you can look better,” he says, “and that could be the difference in landing a new position.”

This focus on age and youthful appearance by companies and hiring manager’s is also a concern for government agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. For the fiscal year 2008, they reported 24,582 age related charges filed accounting for more than 25% of all charges filed. Once the 2009 data is made available, job seekers, companies, and the government will have a better indication of how much age discrimination has increased or decreased in the job market and the most recent economic recession.

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