Why Professional Headshots Could Make or Break You

I was browsing the web, vetting companies the other day. Of course I want to know who is behind the business I need to trust, right? That’s why I always navigate to the list of company leaders and employees.

And that’s where it hit me.

Three out of the five individuals driving this company inserted professional headshots next to their personal biographies. These three even used similar backgrounds.

And the others? One selfie and one informal picture.

Best of all is that it was the CEO’s profile that featured this very informal (unprofessional?) image while most of the others went to some trouble creating a professional look at least. Guess who I have the most respect for at the moment?

I haven’t met these individuals but I know who I would prefer doing business with or handling my account. So have you considered how your profile affects others?

You Can’t Control People’s Thoughts

Visual impulses get processed much faster than the text people read. Visual processing also happens involuntarily. But a resume needs to be read first. And you know how lazy browsers are to read. Aren’t you? Therefore your well written resume means nothing if your picture doesn’t complement the overall effect you want to leave.

That’s the power of visual stimulation. You don’t decide how visual impulses get processed, but your brain takes something form each pixel:

  • If the guy wears a suit he looks professional.
  • A party or restaurant in the background could signal the person prefers pleasure rather than business.
  • If he or she has a friendly but controlled smile you know they’re serious about business while being approachable.

Now think again: Do you need a copywriter or should you rather invest in a photographer?

What if That First Impression Really Lasts?

Do you realize up to 95% of people’s decisions are made in their subconscious minds? That means emotions—not rational thoughts—motivate what people decide to put their trust in.

A fact that one person is a CEO and another is simply an employee may not matter. If an initial image sparks more respect for the employee, it will be difficult to change someone’s mind. And The CEO with his selfie—apparently taken at some party—doesn’t immediately impress with professionalism as his subordinates did.

This influences what clients think of the person but also about the business. After all, a CEO should represent his or her company at all times, right

Will People Trust You or Your Competitor?

You’re surrounded by competitors whether you’re at work or doing business in your field. You and your partners, employees and colleagues all compete don’t you? And something as simple as a professional profile picture could drive more clients to your strongest opposition than to you.

So let’s start again. You’ve got one chance to make an impression. Which photograph will you add to your profile now?

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