These days few jobs require a candidate to put a photo on their resume for reasons which include discrimination, technology glitches, and misjudgments. Ultimately the aim is to power a career through professional expertise, achievements, qualifications, and role suitability.
Yet in the age of global business social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, it’s an unspoken given that a good profile will feature a quality professional photo. With Google now also highlighting photos in billions of daily searches the move towards creating a powerful online personal ‘brand identity’ to communicate credibility and influence is fast becoming the norm.
Here are three reasons to get a quality online photo created pronto, and imprint a unique career into long-term professional gold:
1. Control: you'll show your best angle in the best light
Apparently it takes between just two and 20 seconds for a prospective employer to develop a first impression of who you are and what you are capable of. First impressions count. Every time a person attends an interview they are attempting to project a sense of their professional power and the reasons to fit well within a team. The image online can help to amplify what this person is trying to achieve in the interview room. It also means that people searching can make a strong visual connection. Historically every well-known musician, artist, actress or business guru has made it their business to create a fitting business-branded image of themselves for marketing, publicity and promotional materials. Using this same tried-and-tested concept it’s wise to develop a quality professional photo with a digital camera taken in clear light, in colour, and made up in 300 dpi. It can be used repeatedly for email communications and uploaded to the internet.
2. Communication: you'll show your attitudes and values
An online photo needs to represent you— the candidate and expert—in the best possible light to stand a chance of getting the job you want, in the company you want, with the type of people you want to associate with, and with the right salary. A musical artist will convey their creative attitudes and values through powerful expressive formats. A money-focused salesman will project an air of market and business value through a slick business card and e-business signature and photo.
If a corporate firm wishes to hire a candidate who should be suited and booted then the online professional head shot needs to be in black and white, or grey scale, and with a hint of quality suit and tie. A creative agency will naturally seek a professional who is more about colour, expression, brand-ability, culture and uniqueness. An educational institution will look for a community-minded representative who can be trusted to develop the minds and bodies of younger students and who projects an air of respect and grace. Getting the photo to precisely match both yours and the employer’s values, together with previous experience and qualifications, means that you—the good candidate—is more than half-way to getting the job and career they aspire to.
3. Presence: you'll "pop" on social media sites and Google+
In the age of powerful search engines, Google and Bing, when people search for items and people the search listing on the critical first page will show all available public photos of a person alongside a short description. These days online public photos will usually be automatically linked to a person’s social media such as Google+, iChat, Skype, Twitter and LinkedIn. Choosing a good photo wisely now will help a candidate to proactively shape a view of rounded professional persona and signal the type and strength of connections they have with friends, influencers, connections, industry peers and acquaintances.
There might just be somebody who, while searching, sees your description and photo on the other side of the country or world and is looking to employ someone with exactly your type of skills and experience. Just be sure to keep any Facebook or other personal social media photos on lock-down on the strongest of privacy settings so as not to mix messages.
Laura Abrar writes about technology, business, marketing, trends and careers. She developed her career in public relations and communications management for global leading and challenger technology brands, as well as in digital marketing for SMEs in the United Kingdom. @LauraAbrar