In today's economic market, professionals need to have an edge to stay competitive. One way to get a leg up is to create a professional brand—and that includes your visual image. A headshot says something about you, and one of the first things people will notice is whether or not it was taken by a professional photographer. Your brand is continually reinforced by what people see, hear and read. In today’s world of social media, you can’t afford NOT to use every advantage available. A professional photographer understands the nuances of lighting, posing and editing giving you an immediate competitive edge—and one that has a proven return on investment.
If you're thinking that you can't afford to hire a professional photographer, don't worry! Through generous financial contributions, the Graduate School (in cooperation with Graduate Career Services) provides opportunities throughout the year for graduate students to receive a FREE professional headshot, including access to the digital images. Watch for publicized opportunities!
Why Get A Professional Headshot?
- People want to put a face to a name. Your headshot can encourage people to reach out to you.
- When an employer looks at your profile, s/he is not only looking at education and experience, but they are also looking at who you are and how you portray yourself. They want to make sure that you are serious about professional quality and digital communications technology. And if you don’t care about your professional image, then why should a potential employer think that you will use any higher standards for their organizational image?
- Graduate students need to be perceived as COLLEAGUES and specialists, not as STUDENTS, as they enter the professional world; an appropriate headshot accomplishes the goal. How do you want to be seen? Do you want employers to recognize you as a real professional with high standards or are you satisfied with showing them your ‘selfie mug-shot’?!
- A good headshot will promote greater trust, interest, and a sense of authenticity in your brand. When you consider that a LinkedIn profile with a professional headshot is 7x more likely to be viewed than those without, you begin to understand the importance of that first impression.
- A professional photo is one of the most compelling aspects of your personal brand. It’s a visual representation of your readiness to add immediate value to an organization. While some undergraduate students may be able to “get by” with a cell phone snapshot, it can be detrimental to a serious professional's image.
- A professional photographer has a trained artistic eye for posing their subjects to achieve the best image whereas you probably do not. Knowing what lighting looks best for a particular skin tone or face shape makes all the difference in the final product.
- Our general advice when it comes to LinkedIn and other social media platforms is to use a headshot taken by a professional photographer. It conveys a level of confidence and sends the message that you’ve INVESTED in yourself because you know you’re worth it.
- Employers want to connect to a face as well as a name and they want to hire people they trust. As much as possible, your headshot should convey that you are someone they would want to interview, work with, and be represented by.
Bottom line? Don’t underestimate the importance of a professional headshot. You want a picture to match your brand and keep your image consistent, engaging, and--more importantly--professional. Hiring a professional photographer will ensure that your headshot enhances rather than devalues your brand.
Remember to keep an eye out for upcoming professional headshot opportunities from Graduate Career Services and the Graduate School!