Remember when I said that your visual presentation is much more important than your writing-based presentation? I am going to explore in-depth what I meant by that in this chapter.
The nature of the online world is a visual one today. Many of these people have never – and will never – meet you in person. They have to go off of the content they find online. At the end of the day, we connect with other people when we look them in the eye, shake their hands, hug them, and speak with them. To be human is to connect to the people around us. With the online world, we are missing out on some of that innate connection, which is why visuals have become so important. It’s the next best thing.
Rewind back to your values, passions, and personality traits. One way to communicate them is through your personal image. It should complement everything you are already communicating with your social media and personal website. For some people, personal image can be a struggle – they don’t like to spend time on themselves and their image. In this new world of personal branding, there’s no room for imagery ignorance. That’s what I am here to tell you.
So how do you ensure your personal image is in line with your online presence? Here are a few suggestions:
- Your Headshots: There is no replacement in the world for professional imagery and headshots. You can’t take these with your phone and you can’t have your parent take them with an old digital camera. You must work with a professional photographer with high quality equipment and studio lighting who can capture your essence and aura in a professional image. Consider having pictures taken in a few different outfits you can rotate around your social media profiles. Think back to your brand colors and try and bring them into these photos.
- Your Article Covers: Every time you post an article, a blog, etc., there is a photo that can go with that article. If possible, always try to make your image part of that cover. Have the professional photographer take pictures of you at your laptop or holding your phone. You can use these as part of your blog to really communicate your association with the information you are sharing. It’s an easy way to add more imagery of yourself without seeming self-absorbed. You want recruiters to be able to identify your physical presentation.
- Email Signature: Don’t just leave your name in texted font at the end of your email. Take the time to import your personal signature into your email. Include all of your contact information and your social media icons, as well. Make it easy for people to get to know you immediately. It’s no time to be shy today.
- Dress for Success: Even if you’re not going into an office right now, it’s important to still dress for success. All of your social media photos should communicate your style and professionalism. How you choose to dress and present yourself immediately tells recruiters how serious you are about being a professional. They can tell through your social media, even in a COVID-19 world.
- Grooming: For men and women, updating your image with professional grooming, like haircuts, trims, etc. can go a long way. Showing employers that you’re not afraid to go above and beyond with your image will speak volumes.
Updating Your Personal Image
No one wants to see photos of you from four-years ago. What do you look like right now? Be sure to update these photos regularly so that they are an accurate reflection of your real appearance. Recruiters will feel like you might be hiding something from them if your headshot is clearly a 10-year younger version of yourself. Of course, affording professional photography every year is not prudent. Therefore, I recommend having new headshots taken every three-years. This will keep your image transparent so people are more likely to trust you.
What if I am not happy with my current appearance?
Remember that your brand is supposed to be authentic YOU. There is nothing you need to do to alter your appearance. Rather, spend time updating your appearance to one that is professional and reflective of the job you want for yourself. Enhance your authentic self with clothing and pictures that are true to yourself.
Next, let’s look at the value of physical branding assets, like business cards, regalia, certificates, and more.