Are You Catwoman or Casper?

You can only choose one

  • Oct 30, 2021
Halloween Protip: If you want the world to see you as Catwoman, don’t dress up as Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Halloween is all about taking on different personas, dressing up as someone we think it would be fun to be. That, and all the candy.

This, of course, has me thinking of headshots.

LinkedIn has reported that, over the last year, there has been an over 50 percent increase in the number of people changing their professions – the highest rate they’ve seen since the platform started back in 2003. This, along with the Great Resignation, is causing a tectonic shift in the labor market.

So what does this have to do with headshots?

This: anyone changing their profession also needs to think about changing how they present themselves to the world. Because a baker is not a banker, and a teacher is not a tech worker.

We Are Animals

Like it or not, we are social animals. We have certain expectations and ideas about how someone in a particular profession should present themselves. What is more, we form impressions very quickly (a tenth of a second, Stephanie Burns says), and if there is a mismatch between what someone is saying they are and what their profile picture tells us they are, dissonance sets in. And dissonance is not your friend here.

What that means is that anyone changing their profession needs to think about the different visual expectations we have for that profession. And if their existing headshot does not match their new professional direction, it’s time for a change.

Of course, if one’s headshot is a selfie or a lazy cutout from a Christmas party, those should have been ditched long ago.

Why Headshots Matter

Your headshot is the first impression many people have of you, whether you are on the job hunt, or whether you are putting yourself out there on your website, representing your company. It is the first chance you have to earn the trust of a potential employer or business partner. When done right, a headshot can show that you care about how you present yourself to the world, that you have a commitment to quality, professionalism, and putting your best face forward. When done wrong (selfie, friendie, cropped family photo) it can wreak incalculable damage to your reputation.

I say this all the time: no one who doesn’t know you is going to think better of you than the best image you put out there in the world.

Don’t sell yourself short. If you are changing your profession, or if you know someone who is, step it up and get a professional headshot to show yourself in the best possible light.

Your career will thank you.