I had the opportunity to attend career and transition coaching at Optimum Talent this past winter and I have to admit, I learned a lot about myself and how to sell what I have to offer. My biggest takeaway was learning to sell myself with an overall polished professional image carried through my new resume, LinkedIn profile, website and bio.
Learning to market myself professionally seemed so foreign. My first seminar was Linked In for your Job Search. They spoke about the changes in company hiring strategies. I had no idea that networking and social media played such a large role in recruiting. I always knew these were factors and a ways to verify professionalism and character but I didn’t realize how many companies actually recruit using mostly LinkedIn. The facilitator spoke of selling a professional image with the use of a professional profile picture. This made sense to me as a professional photographer, but what about everyone else? Most of the attendees had never considered using a professional portrait on their new or recently polished LinkedIn accounts. They just used a cropped portion of a picture they had on their smartphone or computer or worse yet, a selfie! Why not? Are people really paying attention to the quality of the image? Isn’t it just to have on their profile so they could be recognized by friends, peers or former colleagues? It turns out that organizations really do value the dedication and attention to detail that a proper professional headshot conveys no matter the industry.
Photographs by O-Town Photography
For me, these sessions spiraled into a whirlwind of changes I needed to make to polish my professional ‘look’. I started by changing my company logo and continued by changing my website, business cards, and marketing material. Everything needed to match the new professional image I had in mind. I still have a lot of work to do to complete that image, specifically in regards to social media presence but it is well on its way.
I realized the value of a Professional Headshot from a customer perspective shortly after my LinkedIn seminar when a client requested a business headshot session because she was “hot on a lead for a new job and in need of a professional image to seal the deal”. During her session, she mentioned that she had also learned the importance of Networking in her job search in the Event Planning field and how she should have done this (have a professional portrait) sooner. She felt that it would have helped people remember who she was and that they had in fact met or worked with her in the past. I’d like to think I played a role in her success when she announced two weeks later that she had landed her dream job. Maybe the professional photo had nothing to do with it, but, maybe it did! Either way, her professional, approachable smiley new photograph will continue to help her sell her professional image.
Photograph by O-Town Photography
I believe a professional business portrait is a necessary investment for anyone searching for a new career or for business professionals to convey a message of commitment and pride. The cost of a professional business portrait session varies mostly based on the photographer’s experience and offerings. I want to help others sell their professional image. For this reason, I have dedicated a full page on my O-Town Photography website to Corporate and Profile Headshots.
If you do not already have a Professional Headshot or portrait you should consider getting one. Get ideas by reviewing ones from people in your industry and find a photographer that you think could achieve that look. Many photographers like myself have the ability to do more than what is displayed on their websites so don’t be afraid to ask for something specific.
I too need to refresh my business headshot. My self-portrait no longer portrays the image I am looking for. I have arranged to trade sessions with an associated photographer to help me achieve the look I want. I know this is an important step in my professional social presence across all social media platforms and I believe it should be part of yours too!
Photographs by O-Town Photography