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Bad Breath, Heavy Cologne and Wrinkled Clothes Among Factors That Can Make You Less Likely to Get Promoted, CareerBuilder Study Finds

CHICAGO, June 29, 2011 – Wondering why you haven’t made it into the corner office yet or haven’t received that bump in title? Part of the reason may surprise you. In a recent study from CareerBuilder, employers nationwide shared which personal attributes would make an employee less appealing for a promotion. Bad breath, disheveled clothing, piercings and tattoos ranked highest among factors. The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive among 2,878 hiring managers across industries between February 21 and March 20, 2011.

“When it comes to career advancement, you want to stack the deck in your favor,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “While strong job performance and leadership skills will weigh heavily on prospects for upward mobility, employers will also look at whether the employee conveys an overall professional image both internally and externally.”

The top personal attributes employers say would make them less likely to extend a promotion include:

• Piercings – 37 percent

• Bad breath – 34 percent

• Visible tattoo – 31 percent

• Often has wrinkled clothes – 31 percent

• Messy hair – 29 percent

• Dresses too casually – 28 percent

• Too much perfume or cologne – 26 percent

• Too much makeup – 22 percent

• Messy office or cubicle – 19 percent

• Chewed fingernails – 10 percent

• Too suntanned – 4 percent

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of CareerBuilder among 2,878 U.S. hiring managers (non-government) between February 21 and March 10, 2011 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With pure probability samples of 2,878 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 1.83 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

About CareerBuilder®

CareerBuilder is the global leader in human capital solutions, helping companies target and attract their most important asset - their people. Its online career site,®, is the largest in the United States with more than 24 million unique visitors, 1 million jobs and 40 million resumes. CareerBuilder works with the world’s top employers, providing resources for everything from employment branding and data analysis to recruitment support. More than 9,000 websites, including 140 newspapers and broadband portals such as MSN and AOL, feature CareerBuilder’s proprietary job search technology on their career sites. Owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE:GCI), Tribune Company and The McClatchy Company (NYSE:MNI), CareerBuilder and its subsidiaries operate in the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia. For more information, visit

CareerBuilder Media Contact
For all media inquiries and interview requests, contact:

Jennifer Grasz
(P) 773-527-1164