There’s a cliché that goes, “looks don’t matter.” In reality, they do – especially in the corporate world. Yes, having a great head shot is more than just vanity – it can and will say a lot about who you are, especially if the said photo is seen on your business card, LinkedIn profile, website, or even your e-mail signature.
Here are 3 main benefits to having a current, professionally-taken head shot:
1. Most of the time, people do business with a person and not the company. Therefore, looks do matter.
Many HR experts can attest to the fact that a lot of business headshots today: a) look massively outdated, b) look like they were simply cropped or cut from a group picture, or c) don’t look professional enough or don’t seem to relate to the type of business a person is in.
In essence, a good headshot has to show “you,” not some other incarnation or version of you that won’t even pass off as you even on the most complex face recognition software. It’s important to show who you really are – you cannot look so grungy that a salon stylist will start chasing you with a pair of scissors in hand, or so touched up that even you won’t recognize yourself.
Experts recommend an updated headshot at least once every two or three years, especially when you change hair styles a lot, or your work setting has changed, or even when you’ve gone from casual to suit-and-tie in your industry.
2. There’s a reason these professional photographers are paid – they’re the best at what they do.
Just because a person owns a fancy DSLR camera doesn’t automatically make them a professional photographer. Unless they really are, and they have the equipment and skills, it’s never a good idea to have a friend or relative do that head shot for you.
Go to an actual professional and pay for their services. And yes, you will have to dress up and put your best foot forward as well. Sometimes there will be someone to groom you before your pictures are taken, but make sure to come in dressed to the nines (or at least, not look like you literally rolled out of bed and just went there to “be done with it”).
3. Your “digital self” is just as legitimate as your tangible, real life self.
Social media really took over during the last 5 years, so it’s no surprise that sites like Facebook and LinkedIn now lead how the public, including current and potential employers, would see you. If you have a business Facebook page, or a LinkedIn profile, be sure to update it with a professional, nicely taken head shot. You want to represent yourself well online and reflect who you are in person.