‘Your Headshot is one of the most important and useful photographs you will ever have.’
It’s said that it only takes 7 seconds to create a first impression which is why we spend so long prepping and preening ourselves for job interviews but the reality is things are changing. These days the chances are that the person you’re meeting has probably already looked you up online and made some sort of judgement on who you are, which makes it interesting to see so many profile photos on professional sites that are taken on mobiles on say a night out or on holiday. The professionalism shown through our profile photos and headshots should match the efforts we put into writing our CV's or Linkedin profiles.
I found a really interesting study published a couple of years ago which found that someones first impressions of you from a photograph are likely to stick – even after you meet in person. In the study, participants looked at photos of four women who were either smiling or had neutral expressions. Then they were asked if they wanted to be friends with that woman and to judge her personality - whether she was extroverted, agreeable, emotionally stable. The participants met one of the photographed women between 1-6 months later without being reminded of their scores or their initial impressions They played a game and got to know each other for about half an hour. The participants were then asked to to evaluate how likeable the woman was and how they saw her personality. Amazingly the participants' evaluations of the woman remained the same as their first impressions from the photograph. Those who thought she looked like a nice person still felt that way and those who thought she look close-minded or emotionally unstable kept those opinions. *
With the rise of the internet and specifically social media human interaction is losing out to smart phone screens –but I think that its had the opposite effect for Business – Business is getting more personal and thats mainly down to LinkedIn. People want to deal with real people again and you need to look like the kind of people that they want to build a relationship with.
Considering the number of potential recruiters, the number of business opportunities on LinkedIn, it completely blows my mind when I see someone who doesn't even have a profile photo. You wouldn't turn up to a job interview wearing shorts with a pint in your hand – Linkedin should be no different!
Your Headshot is one of the most important and useful photographs you will ever have. Sure you've got your wedding day portraits, the first photo of your newborn child, a graduation photo – but these are memories. A headshot has a very specific purpose: To represent you to the business world and to create the best possible first impression.
Good Professional Headshots are powerful things and the perfect opportunity to tell your story, allowing your personality and expertise to shine through and you give you a sense of gravitas. The location or background for the shot, whether its in a studio or outdoors, your facial expression, or even the angle of the camera can really change the message that you want to put across and the story you want to tell.
Always remember that a professional headshot is not a cost to you or your business – Its an investment. It sends out the message that you mean business and shows off your brand – whether that’s with your company or whether that brand is you.
*You can find details of that fascinating study here.
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