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It used to be that when you looked for a job, the personal connection was essential. Instead of applying online, you sent out applications and then followed up with a personal phone call in order to get an interview.  

Now companies will not take personal phone calls and you need another way of connecting.

How can you best market yourself in order for that company to interview you? Along with your application, good headshots and first impressions may give you that interview that will eventually secure you the position you are wanting.

It is important to get headshots that are suitable for the job you are applying for.

Human resource professionals, as well as headhunters, ask two questions prior to an interview: Are you suited for the company and do you have the skills for the job?

Most human resources people say they check out social media profiles, especially LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, before requesting an interview.

The wrong headshot can kill your chances of even being considered for a phone interview.

1. Do-It-Yourself or Professional?

As popular as selfies are, stay away from them for your headshots. You need a professional to be able to keep taking pictures over and over with a digital camera until you are relaxed and smiling.

Have them taken during the summer because in summer photographs you not only usually look happier and more relaxed, but a tan makes you look healthier.

2. Important First Impressions

In this new digital age, your headshot is the first visual impression you will make on headhunters and potential employers. Make sure your headshot gives the impression you want them to have of you.

Most likely the people who come to your profile will form an opinion of you based on your headshot even before they read that profile. Your clothes and facial expression will communicate with your prospective employers. The picture that may be perfect for match.com, could turn off a potential employer looking through your LinkedIn profile.

Being seen as both friendly and professional is of utmost importance. Like constructing a great resume, getting a good photo takes some effort.

It can give you an advantage over other candidates and humanize your application. Some tips regarding getting that great headshot are:

  • Smile- Try different smiling, pleasant, approachable expressions.
  • Do not have lighting at your back; face the light source. Never stand under a harsh ceiling light. Stand near a window or with a soft ambient light.
  • Don’t shoot in direct sunlight.
  • Do not stand too close to a background object or wall

3. Before Having Your Photo Taken

Look in the mirror right before you have your headshot done. Give yourself a last look to make sure everything looks right, that your hair is in place, and that there is no food in your teeth.  

The chances are that the photographer has never met you before and so they do not know what you look like. Make sure you are happy with the way that you look. If you like how you look, your expression will be naturally pleasant and relaxed for the picture.

4. Your Hair

For ladies with long hair, bring a hairbrush with you to the shoot. You want your hair to look its best. Make sure it is neat and brushed well. Don’t have messy hair with straggly ends.

Because it is extremely difficult to photoshop hair, it usually takes a specialist to do it. This is because there are many different lines going in so many different directions. It is much easier to get it right before the photo is taken than afterwards.

5. What to Wear

Do not wear tops with writing on them. Avoid patterns and thin stripes as they don’t work well on camera and on computer screens. It is best to wear something plain.  Because a lot of portraits get converted into black and white, use enough contrast.

Some tones that initially look great may have the same tone and blend into one another when the picture is converted to black and white. If in doubt, take pictures of yourself in the mirror on your phone, convert them to black and white, and see what looks good.

6. Makeup

A natural look always works the best. Keep it simple and make sure it feels good for you. What you may wear for a big night out will not work for a corporate headshot. The image needs to be a good professional image.

If you normally wear glasses and people are used to seeing you in them, wear them.

Make sure you clean them extremely well and that the lenses are spotless.  When your photo is being taken, make sure you push your glasses back as far as they will go. It is very important to see your eyes and when the glasses are pushed back it shows them off to their best.

7. Keep Quiet

The photographer does not want to have to take pictures of you in between your talking and the facial expressions that go along with that. Try to be quiet, take a deep breath and relax.

The photographer needs to be able to direct you in certain poses and facial expressions and it is best if you follow their direction. It is impossible to talk and follow at the same time.

Make sure you get good references from your photographer. It is helpful to look at a portfolio of all the headshots your photographer has done. This combination of a great photographer plus you being as photogenic as possible will give your prospective employer what they need to see in order for them to want to interview you.

Even without a personal phone call, a great headshot will give that personal connection your prospective employer needs to be able to see you as the one they can consider for the job.


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