By Chung Hyun-chae
It is no secret that many desperate young jobseekers have gone under the knife, believing better looks will increase their chances of appealing to interviewers.
Failing to land a job after countless job interviews, they might think something is wrong with them, not only in appearance but in luck as well.
While double-eyelid surgery and nose jobs have been all-time popular, more jobseekers are even seeking to change their palm lines, voices and mouths.
They have their palms nicked to make palm lines stand out; inject Botox into their vocal cords to make their voice sound more confident; and lift the corner of their mouths to give them a natural smile.
As for the palm lines, they are believed to portray one's destiny through shape, thickness and depth. There are four major lines: the life, head, heart and fate lines. And jobseekers usually want their fate lines clearer.
Imi Plastic Surgery, a clinic specializing in palm line surgery, says on its website that patients can bring a design for new lines after consultation with fortunetellers or the clinic can design them based on the chiromancy.
According to the clinic's manager, engraving one line on one palm costs 800,000 won ($679), and each additional line costs 200,000 won.
"The number of young people having that surgery, many of whom are probably looking for a job, has increased in recent years," Lee Seon-jae, the clinic's marketing manager, said. "I think it is because it is a tough time to land a job."
Some who attribute their failure in job interviews to their voice seek plastic surgery to fix it.
Many plastic surgery clinics advertise that the surgery can prevent patients' voices from quivering at interviews and make them sound reliable.
"All patients should receive a thorough examination before getting Botox and some might need to get up to 10 injections," a counselor at a plastic surgery clinic in Gangnam, southern Seoul, said.
The examination she mentioned costs 450,000 won and one Botox injection 300,000 won.
There are also countless inquiries on the Internet about surgeries to change the angle of mouth corners.
"Given that the first impression matters the most in an interview, I totally understand those getting mouth corner surgery to make a smiling face," said a jobseeker surnamed Lee, 25, who has been trying to get a job at a conglomerate for about a year.
The surgery usually costs about 2.2 million won and it goes up if one wants an additional operation to make it look more natural.
"It seems that jobseekers get unnecessary plastic surgery in search of peace of mind and relief from exhaustion from the cutthroat job market," a psychology professor in Seoul said, refusing to be named. "It hurts my heart to see how they are desperate to be hired."
It is not new for many jobseekers to opt for plastic surgery, thinking better looks may appeal to interviewers. A survey last year showed 30 percent of college students considered undergoing cosmetic surgery to get jobs.