Who has ever had professional photography done?
Ok, now put your hand down if the time you’re thinking of was your wedding day.
Professional head shot for work? Your company’s website? Your LinkedIn profile?
I recently started a podcast and, as a result, I am regularly reaching out to strata managers and other experts in the sector inviting them to be guests on my show. As part of my invitation, I ask my guest experts to provide me with a high resolution image containing their head shot, which I can put up on my website. This is so that my listeners can picture the person I am interviewing.
So far, I have been surprised by the number of incredibly experienced, highly skilled, well-known, successful women there are in the strata sector who have never had professional photography done – for “career” purposes. Their LinkedIn profile gets by on an iPhone selfie and apparently they like to keep things mysterious for potential clients browsing their website.
How you present yourself to the world matters. There are a lot of reasons why, but here’s just 3 to get you started:
- People like doing business with people, not companies, or websites, or email accounts. Your clients, potential clients, employers (and even potential employees for that matter) want to know what you look like. Not so they can judge and laugh and Facebook-stalk you, but so that they can begin to build a picture of you in their mind; so they can feel connected to you even if they have never met you – or never will meet you. Don’t deny them this connection, it’s what separates you from the competition and makes you memorable.
- We make decisions about people within the first 7 seconds of meeting them. That’s right, just 7 seconds. These decisions are often unconscious, but they’re important: we decide whether someone is trustworthy, experienced, confident, successful. We do this based solely on how a person looks. If you can control the way you present yourself to the world, then you can give yourself a valuable head start when it comes to all of these unconscious but important assumptions that are being made about you. These days, the first impression is almost always gained online. Make sure you have an online presence that counts.
- When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, things just seem to go ‘right’. I probably don’t have to explain this one to a readership of women. I am sure we have all experienced it. I’m not saying every day has to be a make-up and heels day, but do take the time to find your own personal style: a way of being each day that makes you feel both comfortable and confident; that expresses the brand that is ‘you’ and sends the message that you’re the right person for the job, whatever that job may be.
Spend the time (and a little money – it’s well worth the investment) to have half a day of professional shots taken. Bear in mind that you could be using the same ones for 10 years, so make the effort to get them right. If you aren’t sure where to start, I can point you in the direction of some experienced photographers.
We all want to see the strata sector – and strata management in particular – evolve into the highly respected profession it deserves to be. Be sure to play your part in that evolution. Professionals look the part. Make sure you do too.