LinkedIn Headshots: How to Prepare

My clients often ask “what do I need to do to take a great headshot”? First, let’s remember why a headshot is important - according to LinkedIn statistics profiles with photos are viewed 21x more often than those without.

“Members who include a profile photo receive 21x more profile views and up to 36x more messages”

Humans are highly visual and naturally a photo creates an impression much like an in-person first-impression. Today, your online presence is often your first-impression (whether you like it or not).

So what do you need to do to make the best first impression?

Hire a professional photographer who has taken headshots before. A pro will ask a few questions to understand who you are and what brand you want to convey with your headshot. They will also professionally re-touch your photo to make sure you look your best. Take a look at their portfolio of headshots to make sure their style matches your vision for yourself. Even better, find a few headshots you really like and ask your photographer if they can replicate a similar style.

Plan your look. Your attire should match your work environment. For business environments here are my suggestions:

Women

  • Dress or blouse with a simple neckline in colors which compliment your complexion. Stay away from busy patterns - solid colors work best. My personal preference is to not show a lot of skin and to leave arms covered. Optional: blazer

  • Jewelry is great, just don’t make it the focal piece of your picture. You want your eyes and natural smile to steal the show.

  • If you normally wear glasses, wear them in your photo. You don’t want people to have to work to recognize you based on your photo.

  • Get a fresh haircut and color a couple weeks prior to your headshot. Let your hairdresser know your plan so that they give you the best quality of service that they can. Pro tip: book your hairdresser to do your hair the morning of your headshot if you don’t feel confident doing it yourself.

  • Makeup should look natural. Pro tip: book a professional makeup artist to do your makeup that day. You want to look and feel your best.

Men

  • Suit coat with button-down shirt. Optional (based on work environment): tie

  • Get a fresh haircut a week or two prior to your headshot.

  • Groom your facial hair and don’t forget your eyebrows.

  • If you normally wear glasses, wear them in your photo. You don’t want people to have to work to recognize you based on your photo.

Photo by  Michael Dam  on  Unsplash

Photo by Michael Dam on Unsplash

Strike a pose. A great headshot photographer will help you find a pose that makes you look the best. Shake out and stretch your arms and make some exaggerated facial expressions to get your face muscles warmed up. Here is what your body will look like in a great headshot:

  • Picture captures you mid-chest to the top of your head.

  • Natural smile, eyes looking directly at the camera, chin angled slightly down.

  • Body slightly angled, one shoulder slightly closer to the camera than the other.

  • Arms and hands relaxed (try not cross your arms). Sometimes people feel comfortable with hands clasped in front of their body, hands on hips, or hands on low back.

Have fun. Trust that your photographer wants to capture you at your best. Relax and think happy thoughts - some people even imagine they are looking at their spouse or child when looking at the camera.

Post it. Once you get your picture back, get it loaded to your profile. It’s best not to apply a filter to a professionally taken headshot.

5 Steps For Navigating a Mid-Career Job Change

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This is a question I get asked frequently, especially by people who have been in the same role or at the same company for several years:

"How do I navigate a job/career change?"

 

Maybe you feel underutilized in your current role, you've been laid off, or are looking to transfer industries. Here are the five steps I see successful people take:

1.Identify what you'd like to do next.

Research job descriptions, meet with a career coach, or job shadow roles you might be interested in. It's sometimes helpful to take assessments to learn more about yourself. Two of my favorites are 16 Personalities (similar to Myers Briggs) and Take Charge Well Being Assessment. The mid career point is a great time to invest in your well-being to keep you energized throughout your job search.

2. Update your LinkedIn Profile and resume.

Yes, you need both. Think of your resume as the "Cliffs Notes" version of your LinkedIn Profile. Create a base version of your resume which you'll refresh to reflect the keywords in specific job descriptions that you are applying for. You will have several versions!

On LinkedIn, focus on placing keywords in your profile, highlighting results and accomplishments, adding connections, and being active (i.e. posting industry relevant articles, endorsing people's skills).

Since resumes and LinkedIn can be time- and energy-consuming, consider hiring someone to help you. A couple hours with a pro will ensure your skills and experience are reflected in the best way possible to achieve your goals, highlight the most meaningful parts of your career, and ensure the format is current.

3. Identify companies you are interested in.

Be thoughtful and intentional - this isn't your first rodeo. You've seen enough to quickly identify environments that will and won't work for you and have skills and experience which companies are looking for. This means identifying companies you might like to work for and doing your research. Since you likely have a decent network established, leverage people you already know to make connections for you. Be prepared - many times these meetings can turn into informal interviews for roles that aren't even posted yet.

Honing in on 5-10 companies that you'd love to learn more about helps you begin the job search in a natural way. Reaching out to a friend or former colleague with "I'm curious to learn more about ABC company that you're currently with and the work they are doing in XYZ industry. Do you have 30 minutes for a coffee in the next couple weeks?" sounds more thoughtful and intentional than "I'm looking for a new job".

4. Network.

Quality networking moves you toward your goal quickly. One of my favorite books on is called "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting". The book outlines the 5 parts of a good networking meeting which are:

Step 1: Great First Impression (2-3 minutes)

Step 2: Great Overview (1 minute)

Step 3: Great Discussion (12-15 minutes)

Step 4: Great Ending (2 minutes)

Step 5: Great Follow Up (after the meeting)

The book breaks down each of these parts in detail - I suggest everyone reads it!

5. Craft your elevator speech.

Elevator speeches happen everywhere, not just in elevators! This aligns beautifully with Step 2 referenced in "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting". This is your value proposition for future employers (i.e. what skills do you have that solve real problems for them). It is short, memorable, and paints a clear direction on what you have to offer and how it adds value and/or solves problems for them.

 

Fall/Winter 2017 Capsule

My capsule wardrobe continues to be one of the reasons I can live my brand - less is more! (If you haven't seen my first capsule wardrobe post, check it out!) Less time spent shopping for clothes, fewer decisions on what to wear because I have what I need, and I'd venture less money spent, but I'll be honest I'm not great at tracking that. What I can track is that my overall happiness and confidence has increased exponentially.

And I need to give credit where credit's due to my amazing stylist friend Lindsey who helps me purge my closet and create a list of what I need (i.e. what classic pieces are going to allow me to get the most out of the items I already own, while also being on-trend). Then I share my needs with my Trunk Club stylist who shops for me and sends the items to my home - no fees, free shipping, free returns as long as you have a Nordstrom card. Can you say amazing?! These services save me so much time so I can focus on my work and family.

So let's get to what you really what to see....what's in my capsule! 

BOTTOMS

My favorite jeans in dark blue and black (AG Farrah High Waist). 

My favorite jeans in dark blue and black (AG Farrah High Waist). 

I'm in love with ankle pants right now. I have these in navy and black. 

I'm in love with ankle pants right now. I have these in navy and black. 

Not pictured:

  • Athleta lined lounge pants
  • Workout pants (Zella crop leggings)

TOPS - KNITS

I love a stripe knit shirt and this one from J Crew had some structure with the cuffs, making it something I can wear to work without a jacket. 

I love a stripe knit shirt and this one from J Crew had some structure with the cuffs, making it something I can wear to work without a jacket. 

I have this top (Nordstrom BP Brand) and two more which I got at TJ Maxx Willi Smith brand. I love the TJ Maxx ones because they are SO soft!

I have this top (Nordstrom BP Brand) and two more which I got at TJ Maxx Willi Smith brand. I love the TJ Maxx ones because they are SO soft!

This top is super soft and flattering. 

This top is super soft and flattering. 

Not pictured:

  • Old Navy fleece in magenta circa 2008. Seriously. I love this top in the winter. 

TOPS - BLOUSES

A fitted white blouse is a necessity for me. It looks so classy with a light sweater and jeans. I normally replace twice per year because #life.

A fitted white blouse is a necessity for me. It looks so classy with a light sweater and jeans. I normally replace twice per year because #life.

I snagged this beauty from J Crew to replace mine which was worn out. This is such a core piece - wear solo, under a sweater, under a scarf.

I snagged this beauty from J Crew to replace mine which was worn out. This is such a core piece - wear solo, under a sweater, under a scarf.

Such a classic!

Such a classic!

I snagged this vintage top for a party and I love it. I mean seriously I try to find places to wear it because it makes me feel so happy. Call me - we can go out in sparkly shirts.

I snagged this vintage top for a party and I love it. I mean seriously I try to find places to wear it because it makes me feel so happy. Call me - we can go out in sparkly shirts.

Not pictured:

  • Vintage white/blue stripe blouse

TOPS - SWEATERS

I was lacking leopard, so when I saw this beauty at J Crew I said yes immediately. New for fall and looks so classic with a white blouse underneath.

I was lacking leopard, so when I saw this beauty at J Crew I said yes immediately. New for fall and looks so classic with a white blouse underneath.

I have this in 2 colors - camel and ivory. And believe it or not it was a Costco find. 100% cotton, so snuggly warm.

I have this in 2 colors - camel and ivory. And believe it or not it was a Costco find. 100% cotton, so snuggly warm.

This is a carry-forward from my summer capsule. With a blouse underneath, it's perfect for fall & winter.

This is a carry-forward from my summer capsule. With a blouse underneath, it's perfect for fall & winter.

I got a similar item from a friend who was cleaning out her closet. I needed a punch of color - something that just made me feel happy! I pair this with my black/white thin stripe blouse underneath. 

I got a similar item from a friend who was cleaning out her closet. I needed a punch of color - something that just made me feel happy! I pair this with my black/white thin stripe blouse underneath. 

JACKETS / CARDIGANS

I snagged this for a great deal at Nordstrom rack. A classic camel jacket would be great too, but this one had a modern edge that I just loved. Chic but effortless at the same time.

I snagged this for a great deal at Nordstrom rack. A classic camel jacket would be great too, but this one had a modern edge that I just loved. Chic but effortless at the same time.

I'd call this a vintage piece, but it's probably only a couple years old. Such a great investment.

I'd call this a vintage piece, but it's probably only a couple years old. Such a great investment.

Another vintage piece. This one is probably 7 years old and it just doesn't quit.

Another vintage piece. This one is probably 7 years old and it just doesn't quit.

Last year I wore the same 3 jackets over and over, so I wanted to add some sweaters for variety. This one was a splurge, but I love it.

Last year I wore the same 3 jackets over and over, so I wanted to add some sweaters for variety. This one was a splurge, but I love it.

Wear this all the time.

Wear this all the time.

I brought this into winter from my summer capsule. I wear a long-sleeve shirt under with a long necklace.

I brought this into winter from my summer capsule. I wear a long-sleeve shirt under with a long necklace.

SHOES

I'm so into loafers right now.

I'm so into loafers right now.

I got these last year and they have held up so well.

I got these last year and they have held up so well.

In Minnesota, these are shoes. And I can't believe this is my first winter with them. I will never not own a pair of these.

In Minnesota, these are shoes. And I can't believe this is my first winter with them. I will never not own a pair of these.

ACCESSORIES

I loved wearing my green scarf so much last winter I knew I needed one more. This is great with the stripe shirt, long sweater, or navy jacket.

I loved wearing my green scarf so much last winter I knew I needed one more. This is great with the stripe shirt, long sweater, or navy jacket.

I love this with the chambray short, gray cardigan, or the black faux-leather jacket.

I love this with the chambray short, gray cardigan, or the black faux-leather jacket.

I didn't have a pendant necklace that hit me in the right spot, so when I spotted this one, I knew I would wear it a ton! This was an item Lindsey identified for me to add to my capsule.

I didn't have a pendant necklace that hit me in the right spot, so when I spotted this one, I knew I would wear it a ton! This was an item Lindsey identified for me to add to my capsule.

Aren't these just gorgeous?!? My hubby got them for me for Christmas. 

Aren't these just gorgeous?!? My hubby got them for me for Christmas. 

One of my fave Etsy finds. Who doesn't love Etsy?!?

One of my fave Etsy finds. Who doesn't love Etsy?!?

A classic piece. Love tortoise.

A classic piece. Love tortoise.

I have something similar in both clear and blue. I love adding a little sparkle to spruce up an outfit.

I have something similar in both clear and blue. I love adding a little sparkle to spruce up an outfit.

I love a good brooch. Maybe I'm 90. I just think these are classic gorgeousness.

I love a good brooch. Maybe I'm 90. I just think these are classic gorgeousness.

Additional items not pictured:

  • Workout wear: Zella crop leggings and tanks (2 outfits), 2 jackets
  • PJ's: Gilligan & O'Malley pants & shirts (2 sets) - https://www.target.com/p/women's-pajama-pants---gilligan-%26-o'malley%E2%84%A2-heather-grey-l/-/A-5245913
  • Super soft robe: https://www.softiespjs.com/collections/robes/products/cloud-fleece-robe-1
  • Undergarmets

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this all you own?

No! I have seasonal (summer) items packed away in a box that I'll pull out once the weather changes. I also have a nice collection of costume jewelry that allows me to spruce things up when I need to. I have a black dress (not pictured) that I wear if I need to, but I'm a pants girl mainly.

Do you get bored wearing the same items?

No. I love every item that I own, which makes it a joy to get dressed. I don't have any items that I don't like or don't fit, so everything in my closet is literally available to be worn every day. It's so much less stressful!

What questions do you have? Leave them in the comments.

Recommendation Requests

The best way to get a written recommendation is to be specific about what you'd like people to talk about. By doing this, you'll be sure to get the recommendation that will support your career goals. 

A great written recommendation includes:

  • How you know the person (i.e. Jennifer and I worked on a project together)

  • 3 skills you observed them use

  • What you appreciate most about them

How a Capsule Wardrobe Helps Me Live My Authentic Brand

Living a brand that’s not authentically you, is simply exhausting.
- The LinkedIn Gal

When I help someone create their LinkedIn profile, articulate words and a great headshot are only half the equation - actually LIVING the brand takes commitment and consistency. One practice that I use to LIVE my brand is designing a capsule wardrobe. 

What is a capsule wardrobe? In the words of Caroline Rector, the person credited with the capsule wardrobe concept, it is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.”   

This might sound like a big commitment if you've got an overflowing closet (which I did) but I needed to find a way that made living my brand easy. I started with the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her method required emptying my entire closet on my bedroom floor and one-by-one picking up each item and asking if it sparked joy. The first few items I really had to think about what sparking joy meant, but it's actually a very simple concept. First, it deals in the present. For me this meant an item needed to spark joy right now for me to keep it. Second, I needed to identify physical responses that signaled I was experiencing joy. This turned out to be a smile or flutter in my body. If something didn't spark joy, I thanked it (part of the Kondo method) and set it in a bag to donate. (Side note: I kept the bags in my closet for about 3 weeks just in case I had made a terrible mistake.) The clearer I got about joy and wanting more of it, the easier it was to let go of things that didn't spark it.

The clearer I got about joy and wanting more of it, the easier it was to let go of things that didn’t spark it.

When I was done, my closet looked pretty bare but functionally my decisions became easier. Every item sparked joy. I was happy getting dressed in the morning, even if I was choosing the last clean shirt I owned.

Remember how earlier I said living a brand takes commitment and consistency? Well I had about 7 bags of clothes that said I had the commitment part down. The question is whether I could sustainably live this way. Two and a half years later, the answer is absolutely. I love my wardrobe and it is an authentic reflection of my brand. I'm also clear that in order to be my best self, I need to manage my energy appropriately and that means making some things (like getting dressed) really easy. (Read more on decision fatigue here.)

And now I'll get to the part that you might be really curious about: what do I have in my wardrobe? Here's what's in my capsule right now:

AG Farrah in dark blue AND black

AG Farrah in dark blue AND black

Black Leggings

Black Leggings

An anorak jacket in olive green

An anorak jacket in olive green

Black faux-leather jacket

Black faux-leather jacket

I own this shirt in maroon, grey/green, and black. So easy to dress up/down and long enough to give some coverage with leggings.

I own this shirt in maroon, grey/green, and black. So easy to dress up/down and long enough to give some coverage with leggings.

Classic white blouse

Classic white blouse

Classic gingham check.

Classic gingham check.

A "cold shoulder" shirt + floral is trendy, so I'm comfortable that this might only last 1 season

A "cold shoulder" shirt + floral is trendy, so I'm comfortable that this might only last 1 season

In white and heather gray

In white and heather gray

A chambray shirt is so versatile

A chambray shirt is so versatile

Once you own a black sheath dress, you'll wonder how you lived without one

Once you own a black sheath dress, you'll wonder how you lived without one

Leopard flats

Leopard flats

TOMS Black Leather Bootie

TOMS Black Leather Bootie

Sam Edelman Tan Suede Bootie

Sam Edelman Tan Suede Bootie

A great scarf 

A great scarf 

A statement necklace

A statement necklace

A signature bracelet

A signature bracelet

A handbag that looks great year-round

A handbag that looks great year-round

Athleta lined pants 

Athleta lined pants 

Athleta Chatarunga pants for yoga

Athleta Chatarunga pants for yoga

Athleta Renew tank

Athleta Renew tank

Athleta CYA Hoodie - weekend lounge wear at its finest

Athleta CYA Hoodie - weekend lounge wear at its finest

The part that I've loved learning is that the clearer I've gotten about my brand, the easier it's become to live it. I'd love to hear from you - what choices have you made to simplify your life so you can dedicate energy to things that bring you joy? What routines have you created to live your brand with ease?

Thanks for reading!

Jen