As graduation approaches, I am making preparations for my upcoming job search. I started by creating a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a great vehicle for job seekers and professionals to advertise their skills, experience, and qualifications to other professionals and potential employers. Once I began exploring LinkedIn, one thing that I noticed was that most users have a nice professional head-shot as their profile picture. In order to increase the level of professionalism and appeal of my own page, I decided to have my own head-shots taken. I was lucky that one of our Women’s Business Center supporters, that also works at Florida Tech, has a photography business on the side and offered to take the photos for me.
I met the photographer on campus on the second floor of the SUB. Since we were only shooting from the waist up, I was wearing my suit jacket with denim cutoffs on the bottom. I was really nervous at first because there were a lot of students around and I felt silly doing some of the poses and especially in my outfit! Thankfully, my photographer is an excellent director and helped me feel at ease, she instructed me to close my eyes and relax and told me exactly how to pose in order to achieve the best photo. She reassured me that even though some of the poses felt strange, the photos would come out great. Sure enough, she was right and the photos turned out excellent. I think a quote from my photographer sums up the importance of a good head-shot:
‘Head-shots are very useful in humanizing a business and building trust. Who do you trust more, a corporation or a person? They often form the first impression a person gets of your company’s key people. Because you only get one shot at a first impression, you’d better make it as good as you can. They don’t have to be formal – it depends on the audience that you’re trying to appeal to. For business use, a head-shot should give the impression of an intelligent, warm individual that looks trustworthy and approachable. You should appear important while remaining likable and express vitality. Good eye contact with the viewer is extremely important – you want viewers to be able to connect with you, and picture themselves doing business with you.’
So, as some of you are getting ready to graduate, will you have head-shots taken? Personally, I feel like putting in the extra effort to convey a message of professionalism and also giving a potential employer a glimpse into the person behind the resume is a great strategy. While technology has made many aspects of our lives easier, in some ways I feel like it has made the job seeking process a bit more difficult. One obstacle I have been facing with online job applications is how do I separate myself from everyone else? It’s difficult to make a lasting impression through an online drop box. Using LinkedIn and attaching a head-shot to your resume will allow recruiters to get a feel for who you are, not just what you have done.