Appearance matters. That's what some job-seeking Chinese college graduates say.
Tang Tingting is among 6.1 million Chinese college students who will graduate this year. She had double eyelid surgery to make her eyes appear bigger and said it was absolutely necessary. She thinks it will bring her luck while job hunting.
"The new appearance makes me more confident in interviews," said Tang. She is a secretary major at a college in Hefei City, capital of Anhui Province.
She said she has not found a good job as the country weathers a severe employment situation due to the economic downturn.
Her parents, both farmers in Wuhu City of Anhui, spent 2,000 yuan (US$292) for the surgery.
Tang said she was influenced by fashion trends. She had consulted with specialists at the private Danfeng Chaoyang Maternity Hospital in Hefei before she had the operation.
The hospital told her the percentage of college students having cosmetic surgery has risen sharply.
Small operations such as the double eyelid procedure, nose augmentation or removal of whelks on the face cost 1,000 yuan to several thousand yuan, said Huang Li, a doctor in the hospital.
The number of college graduates looking for jobs will exceed 7 million this year, labor and social security authorities have said.
"I have participated in several interviews, but failed," said a 22-year-old graduate surnamed Zhao. She is an English major at a college in Hefei.
"I felt my face was broad and my eyes too small," Zhao said. "My appearance made me lack confidence and perhaps that affected my results in interviews."
With the support of her parents, Zhao spent 10,000 yuan on cosmetic surgery a couple of weeks ago to make her face look thinner and her eyes larger.
"At least I am more confident," said Zhao. She said she believed she would now have better success in her job hunt.
"After the Spring Festival, our center has seen a remarkable rise in the number of college students who want cosmetic surgery," said Zhao Yu, a doctor at the cosmetic surgery center of the No. 1 Hospital affiliated to Anhui Medical University.
"Appearance is a representation of a person's quality and the first impression a job hunter leaves during an interview is very important," said Wang Kaiyu, a sociology researcher with the Anhui Academy of Social Sciences. "But job hunting is not a beauty contest. Talent and ability still remain the most important factors."
(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2009)