Military Employment Guide: Professional Headshots


Step by Step Guide to Employment: Professional Headshots

You might not realize it, but when looking for a job, your photo matters. Why? Because your photo is what you will show the world, whether it’s for when you attend a virtual event or job fair, for your LinkedIn profile, or any other time you would need to include a photo when it comes to your job search.

Why do you need a headshot?

Think of your headshot as your logo. Your image matters. Your photo is how you can get noticed and stand out to get the job that you want. Your photo can also be the first impression anyone has of you.

You will want to use your headshot for virtual job fairs or events and in your LinkedIn profile. For virtual events, you want to appear as an actual person, not just a blank profile. This shows that you are serious about finding a job and are ready for the event.

Likewise, you also want to appear as a real person on LinkedIn. While using a photo of your dog or child is cute on other social media sites, doing so on LinkedIn isn’t a good idea. If you are actively looking for a job, you want the photo to be a professional photo of you, and no one else.

Will any image be okay for a headshot?

No, you want the image to be clear and professional-looking. This doesn’t mean you have to pay a photographer for a headshot, but doing so can be the easiest way to get a good picture. What you don’t want to do is grab a selfie or take a quick shot to get one. If you do plan to take your own photo, you will want to plan the session out to get the best shot.

You can DIY a headshot photo if need be. Make sure you find the right background and good lighting. Use a timer or ask a friend for help and make sure to take the shoot seriously, even if you are the one behind the camera.

If you are going with a professional photographer, try to find one who has a lot of experience with headshots. Make sure they are able to capture you in a way that shows your personality but also stays professional. A professional photographer should know how to capture the correct look for a photo to use in your job search.

How should you prepare for your shoot?

Whether you are going to take your own photo or hire a professional, you need to prepare for the shoot. Make sure to sleep well the night before, you want to appear refreshed. Do your hair and make-up, and prepare as if you are headed to a job interview.

Pick out clothes that are flattering. Think about what you would wear for a job interview, and find something similar. Business-appropriate is the best way to go, but also know your industry. A Hawaiian shirt might be appropriate for certain jobs while not for others.

What should you do with the photo when you get it?

Once you get your photo done, or sent to you by the photographer, you need to make sure the photo is the correct size. For LinkedIn, the ideal size for your photo is 400 by 400 pixels. For a virtual job fair or networking event, find out what size they require. Getting multiple sizes of your image from your photographer is a smart idea.

When you are going through the process of looking for a job, make sure to plan for getting a headshot done. If it has been a few years, you should update the one you have. People change over the years and you should have a current photo as a headshot, not one from five years ago. Having a professional and updated headshot is an important part of the job search.