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In today's social media landscape, having a professional headshot is just as important as a business email address or business cards. Even if you think that you may not need one, there are many reasons why you need a professional headshot.
It may seem a bit vain, but first impressions drive the world. Before a future employee, client, or colleague meets you, they're going to Google search you. If you have a LinkedIn account, then that photo is going to be the first impression they get. That means you don't want to use any old photo cropped from Facebook or a selfie taken before a night out with friends. Having a picture that is not professional may send the wrong impression, even if that wasn't your intention.
Your Headshot Will Dictate How Others Treat You
If your work requires you to interact with clients, an unprofessional photo can give the wrong image. A client may make a snap judgment that you don't take your job seriously, which means you won't take what they need to be done seriously. This may not be true, but if this is the first impression they get, then they're not going to be willing to get to know your true work ethic and personality. That means when you take a photo, don't use a photo with poor lighting, have the wrong pose, attire, or facial expressions. Additionally, your personal hygiene is crucial. Make sure your teeth are clean, your face is moisturized but not too oily, and most importantly don't look disheveled.
How To Take A Professional Headshot Without Hiring A Photographer
If you can't expense out taking a professional headshot photo with a photographer, and your company doesn't take these kinds of photos, there are ways to make your headshot look professional without shelling out a ton of money. If you have a phone that takes good quality pictures, this is going to be your best option. All you have to do is pick out a top that you would wear to work, use a plain background, and find someone to take multiple photos of you. Make sure the top you use is not flashy or bright. Sticking to neutral shades is your best bet.
If you know how to use Photoshop, then you can edit out any imperfections, but if you don't know how to use it, then just make sure the photo you take is something you would want to upload. When choosing the picture, try not to use anything against a brightly painted wall, in front of a window, or against anything with a busy background. You want something that is super simple, and isn't distracting.
Allanah Dykes has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Politics from Fairfield University. She started her freelance career in 2016 and has written about how to land a job post-college, internships, and the interviewing process. She has pieces featured on Elite Daily, Levo League, and Popsugar.