Getting a new job in 2018 can be a confusing process. With CVs now being looked at for an average of only 5-7 seconds it takes much more than sending off tens (or even hundreds) of stock CVs to agencies and employers. Getting the right job for your skills takes a structured, tailored approach and should be as much about proactive networking and generating leads as it is about direct applications.

Even if you aren’t searching for your next role, you might be open to the possibility of a new opportunity (most of us are). Employers are increasingly sourcing candidates through social media who aren’t actively looking for a new job (they reason, quite rightly, that employees being looked after by their current employer must be good candidates).

Your chances of being approached about an opportunity or successfully securing an interview through your search will rely on the first impression you make; and often the first impression is not a meeting, a phone call, your CV, your list of skills, experience or even recommendations. It’s the photo you use.

Perfect Vision Career Refresh and Young Images Photography have teamed up to bring you these 5 top tips to help you get that first impression right.

  1. Use a photo taken solely for your professional life. Tempting as it is to use a very flattering shot of you on holiday/at a party/at a wedding the photo must have your professional life in mind. Recruiters and prospects can make a judgment about you in one tenth of a second, so you need to give them a chance to see the professional you – rather than the social you.
  2. Be appropriate. Just like your job seeking email address shouldn’t read your photo should be appropriate too. Dress appropriately and according to how you would for an interview, business meeting, professional networking event etc.
  3. Just you. Photos taken which have been cropped to exclude additional people originally in the shot are very distracting for the eye. People will immediately notice there is another individual lurking and your precious seconds of attention from a recruiter or client are easily wasted.
  4. Let them see the whites of your eyes! Making a good impression is really about starting a trusting relationship and making a connection with another person. To build trust, eye contact is important, and this is no less so in your photo. Be sure not to obstruct your eyes, look directly at the camera and smile.
  5. Use a professional. Following steps 1 to 4 is important for that first impression, but it can be hard to do those things AND get an image which is also a really good quality photograph with good composition and which captures your personality. A good professional photographer will help you feel relaxed, rather than self-conscious and will be able to get a shot (or series of shots) that capture your authentic professional self as well as get a technically brilliant photograph. Make sure you choose your professional well. Go for a recommendation, or someone whose previous work you can review and that you like. Above all, don’t make the decision solely on price.

Emma Hodgkinson runs Perfect Vision HR and Perfect Vision Career Refresh. Under the Career Refresh brand, Emma offers programmes which are a mixture of practical advice and personal career coaching guiding you through the job search process and helping you to: “Be Proud, Have Confidence and Take Control of your career”.

Nicola Young runs Young Images Photography. Nicola is a classically trained natural light and studio photographer with a background in the advertising industry. Specialising in Corporate Headshots, Personal Branding and Portraits, her gift is in creating exceptional quality, professional photographs which also capture the true personality of her subjects.