Say ‘cheese’… why you need a good headshot

Say ‘cheese’… why you need a good headshot

As headhunters, we use LinkedIn – a LOT.  We also look at a lot of professional bios on law firm website.  I like to think we’ve accumulated a bit of wisdom around candidate photos over the years, and luckily for you we’re happy to share it.  So…

Get a decent headshot.  Yes, it might seem terribly shallow and irrelevant, but it’s the first thing anyone looks at – and most search firms and internal legal recruiters use candidate-tracking software that utilizes your photo.  It jogs people’s memories and reminds them of the fascinating conversation they had when they met you.  It’s also one way to identify you if, like most people, you don’t have a unique name.

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

    • Invest in a professional shot:  A blurry holiday snap is not the best way to promote yourself professionally; nor is that hilarious shot of you looking wasted at the office party.  There are thousands of decent small photo studios that won’t charge you a fortune (and if you can’t find one near you in the Bay Area, call me and I’ll refer you to an excellent photographer who will come to you).
    • No matter how cute your toddler and/or cat is, this is not the proper forum to publish their photograph (to say nothing of their privacy rights, but don’t get me started on that now).
    • Use the opportunity to evaluate your hairstyle and overall look.  If you haven’t updated your hairstyle since college, consider a change.  (Especially if you are partial to mullets).
    • Likewise, if you’re using a picture of yourself that is over five years old, get a new one.  None of us like to admit that we’re getting older, but it’s embarrassing to turn up to a meeting looking like an older version of your head shot.  You don’t want to exhibit your personal insecurities like that to a potential business contact.
    • Try not to look like a serial killer, and don’t be overly solemn.  You don’t want to feature as a contestant on the ‘Glamorous Solicitor’ section of RollOnFriday (British equivalent of Above The Law, but better)
  • Don’t wear anything too revealing, or be too heavily made-up – it’s unlikely anyone is cruising LinkedIn looking to hook up with you, anyway.
  • Unless you are an eccentric litigator with first chair experience and a professorship, avoid bow ties.

Just for fun (and to show that we’re not vain), here’s an outtake from our own headshot session…