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Why You Need a Headshot


Jake wants to get a job. Jake spends hours working; he puts together his best resume alongside a coach he only can see once a week, and he carefully reaches the way to make the best LinkedIn profile. Finally, Jake has all his information ready, neat, and organized. He’s proud of his work, for it looks professional or at least similar to people in higher positions in the business world. But something is wrong, for days pass, and Jake gets little to no people looking at his page. Finally, he gets one offer, but it’s for serving drinks and food for a big corporation; essentially, his job would be like a servant. Either that or various sales jobs with loose premises from companies Jake had never heard of. It is then that Jake realizes something is wrong with his profile, which does not fit with the high-quality profile he set up, the headshot that he took haphazardly with his phone.


A headshot may not seem important, but it is the exact opposite. People need a good headshot to get a respectable job nowadays. When setting up social media accounts, people normally think it is okay just to post a selfie; for the most part, they are right. But every place is different; it is like dressing up for office work versus going on a night out with friends at a local restaurant. It would not be socially acceptable for Jake to wear a T-Shirt and sweatpants to work, nor a suit to eat fried chicken at his favorite fast food chain. It is similar to headshots; Jake should want to put his best foot forward to ace first impressions.


That is what a headshot is for jobs, a first impression. A picture is worth a thousand words, and Jake’s headshot will tell hiring managers who he is and his values at a glance. If Jake does not take the time to dress well and carefully edit and crop the shot, it will show a lazy attitude and adversity toward quality. A bad headshot gives the same message as Jake showing up to work in pajamas that do not fit him and different colored shoes. Nobody will think that someone who cannot take care of themselves will be able to handle a job, much less perform adequately. But the same is true the other way; if Jake takes the time to make a high-quality headshot, it will show a commitment to excellence, effort, and quality all in one. These are qualities that a company desires in a client.  When they are sifting through thousands of candidates for their open positions, their biases will be toward people who show these traits.


But a headshot is more than a tool to ace first impressions; it is also a culmination of a person’s brand. Every company has its brands, such as fast food, offices, acting, etc. Naturally, companies will want to hire people who match their brands. As such, Jake should tailor his headshot to where he intends to work. While headshots are generally straightforward, being a shoulder and up close-up of a person’s face in front of a background, there are many little things people can customize to change the meaning behind their photo. For example, if he wants to work at an office, he should consider wearing a suit and taking his photo in an office space as a background. As with that example, Jake tailored his headshot toward his intended job by choosing a background, pose, and wardrobe. Jake can modify these three variables to create various headshots across different brands. The possibilities are endless.


Actors also tend to have multiple headshots. Film genres have a variety of themes and tones that no one headshot will truly cover in one. As such, actors may invest time in creating different headshots with different poses and wardrobes to increase their chances of getting a role. Jake, who may not want to be an actor, can also use this advice. If he wants to optimize his chances of getting different jobs, he can create multiple headshots with combinations of the three variables mentioned above. This method is, however, optional, and smiling with a suit in front of a muted background works just fine most of the time.  But the most important thing Jake should remember about headshots is that they are to sell him as an employee wherever he applies, and that must take priority over everything else in the lens.

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