In this day and age we are surrounded by images wherever we look. The invention of social media and camera phones have made it very easy and accessible to everyone. We showcase our lives online with photos and videos, we are constantly marketed to with pop-ups and ads that have interesting and engaging imagery. If quality images are such an important aspect in our personal lives and in business, shouldn't it also be essential in our professional lives? Below we discuss the ways a professional headshot can be advantageous to your career.
IT’S AN INTRODUCTION
Your headshot is your first impression and introduction before anyone meets you. Social media especially LinkedIn is a hunting ground for recruiters and businesses alike. LinkedIn has grown as a platform for people to present themselves as experts in their given fields and subjects, but it also allows an opportunity to connect with new people around the world.
Recruitment agencies and businesses that hire internally utilize LinkedIn to learn more about the skill, personality and ambitions of prospects that have applied for jobs before meeting with with them the first time.
The same applies for companies (small, medium or large) with an online presence, potential clients will google the person or business they want to work with and go to the “about” section to see if they want to work with them.
Going the extra mile and having a professional headshot that represents you well, allows you to make a positive impression on anyone who has discovered your profile.
Keep in mind the implications of not having a polished headshot. Maybe your profile image is a blurry selfie from a party. What kind of impression does that give? How does that represent the personal brand you’re building?
YOUR HEADSHOT TELLS A STORY
Headshots are your opportunity to tell a story about who you are, let your expertise and personality shine through. This can be achieved through locations, lighting, posing and expression on your face. When picking a location, work with a professional photographer to choose the location that best suits your career and desired visual aesthetic. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your headshots should align with your brand, whether that’s personal, professional or both.
Keep hearing all this talk about branding yourself and have no idea what it means? Well, your brand is the visual way you want to be represented in the public. Your professional headshot should match how you want to be seen in the world and the persona you want to reflect.
For example, if you are a real estate agent under a larger company and also pride yourself on being friendly and approachable, your attire and headshot location should match that. Regardless of where your headshot location is, it’s important to keep background selection in mind as well. If your company has certain colours that represent their brand you can incorporate them into your attire or background. It’s best to avoid locations with backgrounds similar to skin tones as it can wash you out and provide a poor visual representation.
If you work with an experienced photographer, they will be able to help talk you through the style you want to portray, but also provide insight on appropriate locations, lighting and other visual aesthetics.
WHY UP TO DATE HEADSHOTS ARE IMPORTANT
Having a current/updated headshot is crucial. The first thing place you should have an up to date headshot is on your social media accounts as this is generally the first thing people see on your profile. It is also important to have a current headshot ready and available for your website or if your employer asks for an image for a blog, social media post or press release. It looks 100% more professional to present a polished image, rather than a selfie or asking a friend to take a last minute photo.
Your headshot is something you should ideally update every year, definitely every two years or if you have a dramatic change in appearance, such as growing a beard or have lost weight etc. Having a high quality headshot ready to send at a moment’s notice shows you think ahead and represents who you are and your personality.
IT'S A VALUABLE INVESTMENT
Choosing to get a professional headshot is choosing to invest in your future. And, a quality headshot does more than just make you look good in the eyes of recruiters, potential employers or clients. It infuses confidence in your own professional capabilities.
To be clear, a headshot is a financial investment as well, but one that will undoubtedly be worth the cost. Thinking beyond the initial investment, if you land that job, book that client or secure that project, which leads to a promotion, the professional benefit and ROI will far outweigh what you paid up front. If you look at your headshot as your first introduction, a representation of who you are to potential connections, clients or employers, do you think you’re representing yourself well? If you were on the other side, would you be impressed by you? Take the time to invest in yourself and your future, and I guarantee you will be happy with the results.