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Whether you are Self-employed, a freelancer or working for an organisation you only have a seven seconds to make a fantastic first impression, whether it’s in person or online. Make sure yours counts!

I was speaking to a friend recently who’s looking for a private tutor for her son but had found the search a lot more difficult than anticipated. Profiles she’d reviewed had badly written bios, and often included profile photos either so dark that it was difficult to see who they were; they’d been taken on nights out; or were simply images of their dog or a nice view from a holiday. She was shocked: most of the tutors were charging upwards of £35 an hour and were not taking the time to present themselves clearly or professionally. Tutors are in a position of trust, and of course my friend wanted to ensure she knew exactly who she was approaching. The lack of professionalism and not having a clear picture of who she would be entrusting with her son left her feeling very uneasy.

This got me thinking.

Irrelevant, or even inappropriate, profile pictures is not something unique to private tutors, I’ve come across many self-employed or freelance professionals who don’t appreciate the importance of a first impression!

Personal trainers, beauticians, babysitters, even dog walkers – you are in a position of trust, people need to feel an association with you. Like it or not, that often starts with the first impression – your profile!

Many freelancers wonder why they’re not generating business online, despite being great at what they do. What it so often comes down to is the quality of the profile, and what’s the first thing we see when viewing a profile? The photo. If you’re comparing dozens of profiles, those with good quality photos really do stand out. It demonstrates professionalism, care and openness – building trust and respect with potential customers and providing a positive, lasting impression.

Did you know, recruiters reviewing LinkedIn profiles spend nearly 18% of their time looking at your picture!? The lesson is this: whatever platform you’re promoting yourself on, having a great picture is key!

Here are my top reasons for choosing a professional headshot to best represent yourself professionally:

  1. Your photo is your personal brand: it’s the first thing anyone considering your profile will see so make sure it’s memorable for the right reasons! Present yourself looking your best, dressed for the role you’re looking for. Remember your photo represents you to the world, so ensure the image matches what you want to project.

  2. Show that you’re serious: freelance websites often have hundreds of registered profiles, but a surprising number will have no image at all! This can demonstrate one of two things to someone viewing your profile: either you’re not bothered or not open! Show that you’re active, and you take the role seriously and use a professional portrait of yourself.

  3. Recognition: As soon as someone views your profile they begin building a mental image of you – ensure they’re building an accurate one! They may want to cross-reference your profile from a freelance website to your LinkedIn, make it as easy by using the same photo on both profiles. It’s not just about consistency, it’s great for building a recognisable, professional and, above all, positive personal brand.

Whatever your vocation, ensure your profile photo does you and your career ambitions justice!

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