Follow My Lead

I’m running out the door, first day of grad school at Georgetown, and I was so proud to have made it into the program, so ecstatic to tell my friends and family I was accepted, and my first assignment – a total failure. I was supposed to bring in a headshot.

As I stood in my poorly lit stairwell and took a selfie, I knew that despite my lucky tie and confident smile, I was making a big mistake. This was the photo that I would be remembered by. This was the photo that would be cross-referenced by classmates and professors for the next two years, and I was not putting my best foot forward. Was this how I wanted to be remembered? No!

Going on a job interview, you want to look your best, and carefully craft the best version of yourself. You select a perfect outfit, a good notepad and pen, a thick business card, and prominent bullet points on your resume. Why not put the same effort into your headshot?

In our digital era, everyone knows what you look like, long before you walk through the door. If a date will stalk you on Facebook, then I guarantee a hiring manager has already visited your LinkedIn page probably twice (once at least privately), and my professors surely saw my headshot long before they introduced themselves to our class.

Since that day came and went, I got a professional headshot. But what about you? Are you graduating from undergrad this May, and still waiting for the right offer? Are you in the middle of a career transition, and the calls aren’t pouring in? Or, perhaps you’re temporarily waitlisted for next fall’s graduate program? If a hiring manager or admissions team looks you up online, are you really putting your best foot forward?

If you have no headshot, or you have a pic like my selfie, what unintentional messages are you sending to potential employers and selection boards? I guarantee you’re not presenting the impression you want.