The Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Headshot

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It’s been nearly two years since we wrote about this topic, so we thought it was time to fresh it up!

Despite all this time, the importance of a good headshot hasn’t diminished at all. On the contrary! It has become even more relevant and in certain ways more complex. In today’s world, where pretty much everything is driven by visual elements, your headshot needs to be able to attract someone’s attention in only a few seconds. Yes, you read that correctly… Few seconds is all you have to make a good first impression.

So, if those are the rules of the game, what makes an image the perfect headshot? In the past few years we have spent long hours trying to figure that out, and we came out with a few tips that hopefully will help you out.

Shall we recycle? Maybe not this time

When you are too busy it is easy to try to solve this kind of situation by recycling some old photograph your friend took of you while on holidays. What’s wrong with that? Let’s do a little cropping, so that your beach outfit is not too visible and voilà! All it’s solved.

Well, that would be a great option if you were NOT trying to get that dream job you always wanted. The truth is, you should consider your profile photo as your own personal brand and in that case it should ALWAYS be perfect. So, our advice to you is to invest in getting an actual professional headshot taken, as in the long run you will highly benefit from it.

According to LinkedIn, an account with a photo is 14 times more likely to be viewed than one without. That gives you literally 14 more chances to get hired! Definitely, that is something you don’t want to pass on.

Cropping here, Cropping there…but seriously, where do we crop?

We get asked this question pretty often and the answer to that is always the same. Whoever is looking at your photograph should be able to grasp an idea of who you are.

On a general basis we always crop the photo so that the face fills about 30% of the frame (think of a mid-body shot). We want people to be able to see directly into your eyes and generate a connection with you.

This might seem kind of poetic, but believe us… A photograph can do way more than just give a physical description of yourself (expanding on this below).

Give them a reason to want to talk to you

You might be thinking that looking good is all you need to get a successful headshot. Oh boy! We wish that was the case.

Definitely dressing properly, having a clean face and perfect hair helps; but there’s something even more important than that and that’s your inner self.

This is probably the most tricky element of a good headshot. Sometimes, being in front of the camera can feel a bit intimidating and it is hard to let yourself go. However, if you are able to put aside that fear, you will realize that the camera is a door into new opportunities. So, embrace yourself and give it your best shot! Give recruiters a reason to want contact you and more importantly hire you.

Remember a beautiful headshot is nothing if it doesn’t inspire confidence and trust.

Clothes are just as important

Rule #1: wear clothes that you feel great in! If you don’t feel happy with the way you look, there’s no way you will get a good headshot (not even if the photographer is highly skilled).

The colors we usually recommend are mid tones in the shades of blue, grey, and brown. Also, you can never fail if you wear black.

Feel free to wear patterns, however, make sure they don't take the attention away from you. 

If you are not sure which outfit to select, you should ask advice to the photographer. They are experienced and will be able to tell you what’s the best option for you.

Let the expert talk

Before you go, read this little excerpt from our past interview with Neville Bendiolla - Division Director of Office Team at Robert Half, who talked to us about the impact LinkedIn, social media, and branding have on recruiting candidates for his clients.

Transcript

Nuova: How long have you been a recruiter for Robert Half?

Neville: I have been with Robert Half for 13 years. 

Nuova: Has the search for candidates changed at all since you first started? 

Neville: Absolutely. We are in an exciting time where technology continues to evolve. We now have access to network and recruit candidates on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin.com. We are able to connect with a larger amount of candidates through different professional events that are marketed through Social Media.

Nuova: Do recruiters use LinkedIn and social media when deciding on whether they want to interview a potential candidate?

Neville: I believe LinkedIn and Social Media are great tools to gain more insight on the candidate’s interests and professional profile. Our clients have access to the information as well, so it is best practice to acknowledge the candidate’s social profile.

Nuova: Why is having a good profile photo important? What do you look for in a candidate's profile photo?

Neville: People enjoy working with professionals that he/she can relate to. Corporate culture is very important for hiring managers and the candidate. The client is searching for someone who would represent their brand and product while a candidate is also searching for the right match that meets his/her values.

 

Christopher Staats