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 underwent cosmetic surgery to change her simple eye to double eye in which the skin around the eye is reshaped, saying 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, capital of eastern Anhui province.
She said she has not found a satisfactory job as China is in a severe employment situation due to the economic downturn.
The surgery cost her 2,000 yuan ($292), all provided by her parents, who are farmers in Wuhu City, a 90 minute drive from Hefei. Tang said she was influenced by the current fashion trend. She had consulted the Danfeng Chaoyang Maternity Hospital, a private one in Hefei before she had the operation.
The hospital told her the percentage of college students having cosmetic surgeries has risen sharply.
Small operations such as double eye, nose augmentation or removal of whelks on 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 seven million this year, the country's top labour and social security authorities 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 broad and my eyes small," said the girl. "The appearance made me lack confidence and perhaps affected the interviewers."
With the support of her parents, Zhao had a cosmetic surgery on her face at the cost of 10,000 yuan a couple of weeks ago to make her face look thinner and eyes larger.
"At least I am more confident now," said Zhao. She said she believed she would have more chances of success in job hunting after the surgery.
"After the Spring Festival, our centre has seen a remarkable rise of the number of college students who come to have cosmetic surgeries," said Zhao Yu, a doctor who performed her surgery at the cosmetic surgery centre of the No. 1 Hospital affiliated to Anhui Medical University.
Currently, there are four to five cosmetic surgeries for graduates every day, about half of the centre's total, he said. He said both girls and boys, mainly in liberal arts and fine arts, had the surgeries.
"Appearance is a representation of a person's quality and the first impression that a job hunter leaves to the interviewer is very important," said Wang Kaiyu, a sociology researcher with Anhui Academy of Social Sciences. "It is necessary for a person to display the best aspect to interviewers."
"But job hunting is not a beauty contest, talent and working capability still remain the most important factors," he added.
Premier Wen Jiabao said in January that finding jobs for graduates was a government priority.