Why Your Smile Is the Key to Your Professional Success

You spend weeks perfecting your resume. You couple it with a cleverly crafted cover letter. You apply for every job that fits your dreams and aspirations (and your budget). Finally, after months of sending out resumes, you land your first interview. With only days to prepare, you print pieces from your portfolio, and you have friends & family launch test interview questions at you: you respond, you parry, you dodge when necessary. You are ready. Or are you?

Responding effortlessly to a barrage of questions and presenting a perfect portfolio will get you far in the interview process. But forgetting to smile (or, worse yet, hiding it) may cost you the job. Today’s employers aren’t just looking for qualified employees — they’re looking for confident candidates who will fit the workplace culture. Your smile shows that you’re a fresh addition to the team and a new, positive energy for the company’s workforce.

Human resource specialists and headhunters emphasize the importance of body language in an interview. The average interviewer forms their first impression of you within seven seconds. Your smile is one of your most powerful nonverbal cues. It can dramatically improve your chances of creating a winning impression during those first few seconds. A sincere, natural smile shows your potential employer that you’re interested in and enthusiastic about the job opportunity, as well as open to and positively engaged with the information they are conveying.

Good employers want to hire energetic and invested employees. They want to know that the individual they hire will be eager to jump into that new role and be successful. Your smile can communicate that and much more in a subtle, but potent, nonverbal way.

Your Smile Talks

During an interview, your smile tells your potential employer that as a colleague you are:

  • Stable and confident.
  • Positive.
  • Interested and enthusiastic.
  • Easy to talk to and work with.
  • Approachable and open.

These traits, combined with a convincing resume, can position you to win the job.

Tips and Tricks

Using your smile to ace your interview isn’t all about smiling more — it’s about smiling right! The following tips and tricks will turn your smile into your most powerful interview asset:

  • Practice your interview smile ahead of time. Do a mock interview with a friend or practice in front of the mirror.
  • Smile when you first greet and shake hands with your interviewer.
  • Smile naturally, with both your mouth and your eyes. During a genuine smile, the whole face is involved.
  • Show off those teeth! Pressing your lips together to cover your teeth makes you appear unapproachable and insecure.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with your smile because of dental imperfections, consider addressing them with a professional so you can smile more confidently.
  • Smile when discussing subjects you’re passionate about.
  • Be sure to give a winning smile at the end of your interview.

Smiling during an interview helps you make a great impression, but did you know that it can also help you recover from an interview slip-up? Studies show that flashing an embarrassed grin after making a mistake during an interview comes off as endearing and shows your potential employer that you can recognize your mistakes, take ownership of them, and move forward easily.

You’ve honed your professional skills, done the job-search footwork, and earned a shot at your dream career. You have every reason to be confident and excited. Now relax, reveal your hidden smile, and go land that job. You’ve earned it!


If you hide your smile because of dental imperfections, contact Dr. Atul Patel and Cosmetic Dentistry of Hayward at (510) 629-4522 to find out more about how our services can give you a job-winning smile!