Think about the last time a salesperson convinced you that a product was worth buying. Now, consider what it was about that product or the salesperson’s pitch that ‘sold’ you on the product. Was it the salesperson’s presentation? The product’s packaging? Perhaps, you tried a sample of the product and were impressed?
Now, think of yourself as a salesperson. When you’re applying for a job, you’re essentially selling yourself. You want to put your best foot forward and convince the recruiter that you’re the best person for the job. In order to accomplish that task, you’ll need to have the proper marketing materials in place. A professional headshot is a good place to start in preparing yourself for your full-time job search.
Think headshots are just for actors and models? Quite contrary. Business cards, a professional resume and/or portfolio, and a headshot are often essential to the job-hunting process. You may have never had a professional headshot done before. Or perhaps, it’s been awhile and you need yours updated. Whatever your situation may be, here are our top five reasons to invest in a headshot before you start your full-time job search.
1. Social Media Profile Pic
A top reason to invest in a professional headshot is that we live in a digital age of social media engagement. People use social media to connect on both a personal and professional level. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 130 million LinkedIn users. That’s a lot of competition. In order to set yourself apart from the pack, you’ll need to find ways to make yourself stand out.
How, exactly? Well, research has shown that LinkedIn users with a professional headshot in their profile receive 14 times more profile views. Likewise, LinkedIn profiles featuring an array of photos get more profile views, as well as more messages. More outreach and communication translates into more opportunity.
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Let your professional headshot speak for you. It will draw attention to your profile and increase your chances of being contacted by prospective employers.
2. Great First Impression
As research suggests, more and more employers are turning to LinkedIn, personal websites, and other digital media sources. It’s important then that you make a great first impression. In many cases, your headshot will be the first way many employers get to know you. Photos often offer a glimpse of our personality to others, so you should think of a headshot photo as your own unique personal brand.
Remember, you’re selling yourself to employers. With a professional headshot, you can convey the type of professional appearance and demeanor you will bring to the business world. Likewise, having a quality headshot will impress prospective clients and make them more likely to trust you. This is especially important for certain careers such as real estate or the legal profession. If you have a quality headshot, your clients will feel more confident in your ability to deliver quality service.
3. Make a Lasting Impression
In addition to making a good first impression, professional headshots also help you make a lasting impression. Many times, you will find yourself at a networking event or social function where you meet someone in passing. Giving them a business card with a link to your LinkedIn profile, web address, or another site with your professional headshot will help them remember who you are.
You may even want to include a thumbnail size photo on your business card or resume. Recruiters often meet many people at job fairs and other events so it’s difficult for them to remember everyone. However, showcasing your professional headshot on your marketing materials will help them remember exactly who you are.
4. Investment in Your Future
Another reason to invest in a professional headshot is that it shows employers you’re invested in your future. A professional headshot conveys that you’re serious about your full-time job search and that you’ll bring that same professional attitude into the workplace environment. That, in turn, will give you a competitive edge over other job applicants who use a snapshot photo or who elect to not have a photo at all. Acquiring a professional headshot takes time and effort. The fact that you put that time and effort into having a headshot taken gives employers a sense of the commitment you will bring to the position once hired.
5. Open Business Opportunities
Finally, your professional headshot will advance your career in more ways than one. Not only will it increase the likelihood that you’ll be hired, but it will also prepare you for other business opportunities. If you work on a noteworthy project, a professional publication or industry journal may feature you in an article and request a headshot photo.
Additionally, if you’re a panel guest at a conference or other business event, you may be asked to provide a headshot to accompany your bio for a pamphlet or brochure. Or perhaps you win an award unexpectedly and receive some professional recognition. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to capitalize on these opportunities by having a headshot that displays the person behind the award, project, etc. This will help get your name and face out to industry leaders. Having a professional headshot on hand will ensure that you’re adequately prepared for any future business opportunities that may come your way.
A professional headshot is certainly an investment, but it’s the right investment to make and one that will likely pay for itself in the end. A professional headshot may not only get you your next job, but it will potentially help you with other career opportunities as well.
You have to showcase yourself and who you are if you want to get ahead. Since a photo speaks a thousand words, make sure you’re sending the right message.