Why Your Headshot Matters and How to Get One
Whether you’re applying for jobs or pursuing internships, your headshot will be one of the first things anyone sees of you. In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey revealed that 80 percent of hiring managers use headshots in their search processes. That means if you have a job interview coming up or are looking to change careers, keeping your headshot updated is essential. Videos aren’t taken nearly as seriously when it comes to interviewing and evaluating candidates as a picture. Videos can show off your personality more than a picture can, but neither is enough on its own. A good headshot stands out and immediately gives viewers an idea of what you look like. It shows how you smile, how you stand, how your hair naturally falls, and where on earth they should be sending applications next so that they don’t miss out on the opportunity to hire you.
What You Need to Know About Headshots
The most important thing to know about headshots is that they are absolutely not the same thing as a professional portrait.
Headshots are usually taken in a studio setting outdoors or sometimes in an office setting. They’re usually images that are cropped and edited to eliminate any distraction around the subject, like a mug in the background, a book on the table behind them, or an icky conference table. They also usually include the subject slapping their forehead and saying “why didn’t I think of that?”
The main purpose of a headshot is to give prospective employers an image of you that’s professional and polished. It’s not meant to show the world all of your amazing personality, quirks, and interests. It’s meant to show your best angle, your best smile, and your best professional attire and hairstyle. Why is this so important that it can’t also be a portrait? Because you want to show off your best qualities and your most polished appearance. If you’re a confident, polished candidate, you want to show that off, not your goofy side or your messy bedroom.
Why is a Good Headshot So Difficult to Find?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about why finding a good headshot can be so difficult. If you’re like most people, you’ve been to a professional photography studio or two and had a photographer take your picture. These people are not photographers. They’re usually amateurs who have no idea how to create a great photograph and use the same editing skills they would if they were making a video. This means your photo is likely going to have distracting backgrounds, bad lighting, an awkward pose, and a bad pose. Not to mention that it may not be the best angle for you and include everything that’s in the background.
That’s not to say that you can’t find a photographer in the same way you found a hairstylist or makeup artist.
You can, but it’s going to be a challenge. That’s because independent photographers usually specialize in a certain style of photography and don’t branch out to work with clients outside of that style. If you’re looking for a professional headshot, your best bet is to look online for recommendations from other professionals and people in your industry. You can also try to network with recruiters and hiring managers in your field of interest. They may know of a headshot photographer and have an introduction for you.
Hiring Managers and Interns Can Be Hard to Reach
That’s another reason it can be so difficult to find a good photographer. There are a lot of photographers out there, but very few of them are actively taking new clients. That means most of them are sitting on their hands, waiting for the next person who needs a headshot to come through the door.
Because hiring managers and recruiters also want to see a headshot, they can be even harder to find and reach. Many of them are also managing multiple projects and don’t want to take the time to mentor a new photographer and find one who’s willing to work with clients outside of their style.
There are some hiring managers who are willing to help you, but they may not be the ones you want to reach. That’s because they’re hiring for entry-level positions and don’t have the budget to give you a full-time job with benefits. That’s important because it shows off to potential employers that you have experience and are ready to take on more responsibility. If you’re looking to join an internship program or change careers, you’re unlikely to get hired with a headshot alone. That’s because hiring managers and recruiters want to see more than just a headshot.
They want to see your resume and your application.
What Should be in a Good Headshot?
Now that we’ve covered the why behind headshots, let’s talk about what should be in a good headshot. When it comes to lighting and editing, the same rules apply to your professional portraits. That means you want to make sure the light source is consistent, it’s directed at your face, it’s flattering and it doesn’t include any distractions. You also want your pose to be natural, your clothes to be clean, your hair to be well-maintained and your smile to be genuine. When you think about what makes a good headshot, you should be thinking about what you want to show off, what your professional look should be, and what your outfit and hair/makeup style should be.
In terms of what you want to show off, it depends on the profession and company you’re applying to.
If you’re applying to an ad agency or a design studio, you want to show off your creative talents. If you’re applying to a bank, you want to show off your reliability and financial savvy. That means you need to do a little bit of research on the company, industry, and field you’re applying to and tailor your headshot to show off your best qualities. If you want to change careers or intern, you can tailor your headshot to show off your personality and professional appearance. That way, potential employers will know that you’re a great fit for the position.
Tips for Taking a Great Headshot
– Make sure you have a good smile – A smile is one of the best things you can show off in a headshot, so make sure you smile.
– Keep your hair clean and well-mannered – Your hair and makeup are one of the biggest factors in what people notice in a photograph.
If you have dirty, unkempt hair or a smeared, angry face, you’re not going to get hired. Keep them clean, well-mannered, and styled so that the image you’re showing off in your headshot is the image you want to show off.
– Be natural and comfortable – Your pose should be natural, comfortable, and free of any stress. That means you should be standing in a pose that feels as natural as possible. You should also try to relax while you’re posing so that you’re not tensing up while posing. That way, you’ll be able to relax while you pose and show off your best qualities.
– Avoid posing with your hands behind your back – Avoid posing with your hands behind your back because it’s unnatural. It makes you look tense, and it can also be distracting when your hands are behind your back.
– Avoid posing with your back to the camera – Avoid posing with your back to the camera because it can make you look slouchy.
Instead, make sure to face the camera while you’re posing so that the viewer can get a good idea of what you look like from every angle.
That wraps up our overview of headshots, and hopefully, you now have a better idea of what they are, why they’re important, and how to find a good headshot photographer. Remember, you can use a headshot to help you stand out and get hired when you apply for jobs, pursue internships and change careers. Like we said before, it’s not always easy to find a good photographer, so using these tips should help you find one who specializes in headshots.