Another school year has come and gone, but for many college grads the summer months are as much about job hunting as they are for enjoying some fun in the sun. Landing that first job is a major life milestone and getting in the door requires preparation. Sure, you need a resume and perhaps a few examples of relevant student work, but just as important is a high quality professional head shot. At Michael Broyles Photography, we have a number of young professionals coming to our studio to have a business portrait taken. Each one we work with has the same goal for their photo: to put their best foot forward with potential employers.

 

So, how can a professional head shot jumpstart your career? Here are four ways in which that photo can make a difference.

 

Connect a Face with a Name

Technology plays a large role in both our professional and personal lives, and many interactions we would have had face-to-face in years past now occur online. This is especially true when it comes to the modern job search. Instead of applying for a job in-person, those initial steps of connecting with a company and submitting an application are typically handled by email or through the company’s careers webpage. And once your resume is in hand, prospective employers will likely turn to Google before giving you a call. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder study, 48% of employers reported researching job candidates online.

 

What does this have to do with your photograph? For starters, your head shot may well be a prospective employer’s first contact with you, allowing them to match a face with a name. When they look at that photo, they may very well form an opinion regarding whether you will fit the company’s culture. That is why it is important to look directly at the camera, be present in the moment, and convey a sense of your personality. This may be your only chance to do so.

 

Professionalize Your Social Media Presence

Another aspect of the job search that has changed dramatically in recent years is the role that social media plays. LinkedIn has become the go-to destination for recruiters and hiring managers to locate and research potential job candidates. Aside from touting your skills and experience, it pays to include a recent, professional head shot as part of your LinkedIn profile. Adding a profile picture increases the odds that a recruiter or hiring manager will view your profile, and people are more likely to connect with you if they can see what you look like. Same principle applies to other social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook. If you want prospective employers and recruiters to take you seriously, you need to do the same.

 

It’s a Dress Rehearsal

Literally.

 

It does not matter if the company you are seeking employment with adheres to an “every day is casual Friday” mindset. Take the time to choose an outfit that is polished, professional, and fits you well. This is not the time to get creative. Break out your best suit, A-line skirt and blouse, or trousers and button-down shirt. Employers want to see someone who looks sharp and cares about their appearance.

 

Take Your Job Seriously

Your professional head shot will come in handy after you land that dream job as well. For example, most company websites include a staff webpage with short bios and head shots. If you have decided to strike out on your own, you will need a professional head shot to post on your business website and on any social media channels affiliated with your business. Presenting at a conference, trade show, or workshop? Often times, organizers behind these events require that you submit a photograph to accompany marketing materials. And if you are nominated for or receive an award, chances are you will be asked to provide a head shot for feature stories, press releases, or announcements concerning that honor.

 

Investing in a professional head shot makes good sense wherever you may land on your career path, and shows you care about your professional identity. This is not just a summer job; for college grads, this is the start of a career that could last years and provide for you and your family. Not convinced? See this recent blog post about the importance of a business portrait for established career professionals.

 

Too busy with your job search to think about Christmas holiday prep? Let Michael Broyles Photography help! This July, every portrait session you book includes a set of 25 Christmas cards. Call Michael Broyles Photography today to learn more about this promotion and our business portrait packages.