We live in a #selfienation where #phonepics reign supreme. Sure, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter might be okay for posting the occasional selfie, but what about professional websites, like LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is for connecting with professionals, and if you’re trying to land a job, a selfie as your profile pic just won’t cut it. Because LinkedIn is often times an employer’s first impression of a potential job candidate, it’s important to have a well composed, well lit, professional photo to help you stand out above the sea of poorly lit, blurry headshots. This is especially important for upper level college students who are trying to land an internship or job - I would argue that a college "senior session" is potentially more important than the classic high school "senior session." While high school senior photos are mainly for Mom, Dad, and Grandma to hang around their house, a college "senior session" gives you a photo to use to promote yourself and jumpstart your career.
So how do you go about getting a great LinkedIn headshot that will help you get hired? Here are some of my top tips:
1. Pick a Good Photographer (Who You Like)
Pick someone who is current, who will know how to represent you in the best light. A good photographer will know how to pull the best out of you for a great photo. It’s also important to hire someone you like. Yes, it might seem like a strange requirement, but getting your photo taken is a very personal thing, and the more you like your photographer, the easier it will be for you to be yourself in front of his/her camera.
2. Know Your Photographer’s Work
Make sure you are familiar with your photographer’s work. If they’re a natural light photographer but you want a classic studio-lit headshot, you might be disappointed with your results. Make sure you’ve talked with your photographer about the kind of work they not only can produce, but also about what kind of work they enjoy producing. This will give you an idea of where their creative strengths lie. In addition, be sure to look up their website or ask for samples of work similar to what you’re looking for. It’s important to fully trust whomever you hire to take your headshot.
3. Dress for the Part
Once you’ve picked your photographer and are familiar with the work they produce, it’s time to pick an outfit. Whatever your industry is, make sure you dress the part. If you’re trying to land a job in accounting, dress in professional attire. If you’re a part of a more creative industry (blogging, photography, design, etc.) dress professional, but bring your own personal style to the table as well.
Even though it’s important to look professional, it’s almost equally important for whatever outfit you pick to be comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable in what you’re wearing, it’s likely to show in your photos (through your facial features and/or your body language).
This part might feel counterintuitive, especially since so many people hate being in front of the camera. It will be much easier for your photographer to capture a natural-looking portrait of you if you’re calm, cool, and collected. If it helps, listen to some of your favorite music on the way to the shoot to get yourself pumped up, or plan something fun with a group of friends directly after so you have something else to focus on (rather than the camera).
Follow these four tips, and you’re sure to have a LinkedIn headshot that stands out from the #selfie crowd!
Jenna Hidinger Photography specializes in weddings, senior portraits, family portraits, and is based in Zelienople, PA.