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I think we can all agree that first impressions are extremely important. It takes about 7 seconds for someone to form a first impression and significantly more time to get them to change it. In today’s society, there’s a good chance that someone’s first impression of you may be from looking at your pictures on social media. This is why I want to discuss the importance of professional headshots, especially for LinkedIn.

A professional headshot is the first step towards making a good first impression to those looking at your profile on LinkedIn. It’s also a great way to help make yourself stand out. Your future employer could be looking at your profile and you definitely wouldn’t want your picture to be the reason why you’re not considered for a position. The fact is that most recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates so it’s not the place for selfies or unprofessional pictures. Since this is somewhere that you’ll be building your professional network, getting a professional headshot is something that I think everyone should invest in.

Now that we’ve talked about why you should get a professional headshot, you may be wondering how much they cost. On average they usually cost between $200-$300. This may seem like a lot of money, especially for college students. Keep in mind that the goal of this picture is to represent yourself in the best possible way so that you can ultimately get the best possible job and make the best possible salary. Although this professional headshot won’t actually get you the job, it should help you create a great first impression. Without that great first impression, you’ll never even make it to the interview and you definitely won’t get the job.

When you’re figuring out what to wear for your interview, dress for the job that you want. If the companies that you’re interested in working for are more casual, it’s okay to wear business casual clothing in your headshot. If you’re going into a field that’s more formal like banking, for example, you’ll probably want to wear business professional. Of course,  make sure that the clothes are flattering and that you’re wearing something appropriate. The most important thing to remember though is to let your personality shine through and smile!

Don’t make the mistake that many people make and have a friend take a picture of you dressed up in business clothes (unless they’re a photographer of course!) You may think that you’re dressed well and that the background is nice, but you can definitely tell between an iPhone picture and a picture taken by a professional. Below I’ve included an example of my friend Tony who recently upgraded to a professional headshot. As you can see, his original picture wasn’t terrible but his new picture looks much better. This picture is sure to make him stand out and get a lot of great first impressions.

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