Selfies are easy right?
You can take one right now. It is barely even an emotional investment. It is quick, simple, accessible.
But they don’t cut it in the world of professionalism.
Making a great first impression is important:
Especially for service-based professionals and those dealing with people directly. When people are relying on you as the backbone to your service, your first impression is vital. If you are asking people to trust you with the expertise in your field, you want to make sure your image looks trustworthy, right?3
First impressions are formed in a matter of seconds. When we are face-to-face with someone, our overall impression can quickly change as we interact with them. Things like mannerisms, facial expression, body language and of course, the conversation, can help us form these impressions. But being online is another story. While the way you present your personal brand contributes to that first impression, so does your photograph. So if you don’t have one, or if you’re using a bad image, it is time to consider an upgrade.
Why your selfie won’t always cut it:
If you’re using an image that was a quick selfie, you might be undercutting yourself. If you’re selling yourself as the top of your field, a professional and an expert, it can come of as looking a little….slack. To me, I find they often don’t communicate with the other branding, and they often don’t quite fit. If you have a really professional website, beautiful business cards, a great logo, and then…a selfie. It doesn’t fit. The resolution of a bad photograph alone can be a stand-out. You need to put your best out there – high quality, engaging, trustworthy, and on-brand.
Types of Selfies:
Just crawl through Linkedin and have a look at the many types of selfies people use for business. Of course, it all depends on your field as to how to portray yourself (again, coming back to personal brand). There are many common ‘selfie types’ that I see across Linkedin and on business websites:
The ‘arm in the shot’ selfie:
This one is a classic – it doesn’t even try to pretend that it isn’t a selfie. At least it is honest? I see this and think the person didn’t really care – I mean, you can generally take a selfie without the arm being in it? Unless we’re in 2006 at my high school, in which case the ‘selfie-arm’ was on-trend.
The ‘cropped group photo’ selfie:
Ah..the old ‘I need a photo of myself but I only have family photos’. So it’s simple right? Just crop the family photo into your face, and even if there is the edge of someones head in it then thats okay.
Actually sometimes I see business headshots with multiple people – which only really works if those two people are in business together, like a team shot. But two people in one photograph, and one name next to it, is a little misleading and shows an impersonal touch.
The ‘at-my-workplace’ selfie:
I have to say, at least these selfies try to have a little more effort. You’ve dressed up professionally, and taken a selfie at work because your boss needs a photo of you. Or perhaps your co-worker took yours, and you took theirs? You found a somewhat blank wall. It didn’t have the best lighting, but close enough right?
The ‘I-looked-great-that-night’ selfie:
I always question these. I have seen ‘Meet The Team’ webpages with all the executives, and then there is one who uses an odd over-done selfie that looked like it was from pre-drinks of one Saturday night. Even if you look amazing, it doesn’t always make you look like a professional.
Selfies are great. I love selfies. They boost self esteem, bring people together, record memories.
But selfies aren’t always the most appropriate thing for business. A business headshot needs to show you as a professional. You need to be likeable and trustworthy, competent and reliable. Putting your best foot forward is important, especially when customers are researching businesses online more than ever. Have a read of my article comparing the first impressions made with selfies and professional headshots.
There is no harm to showing yourself off with a professional headshot.