We live in a visual world with a strong social media presence so we are often judged online before we meet people face to face. It is therefore vitally important for us all to make the most of this first impression where an instant perception is formed in seconds. I am a passionate champion of the PA profession so feel it is vital for us all to have a voice and a presence. The social media headshot has become the first impression of the 21st century. Whether you are a CEO or a Personal Assistant, you should have a professional headshot to represent you.
Our personal image is our advertisement to the world. Our virtual shop window if you like. Our headshot is a promise of who we are, our credibility and what we will deliver. Most recruiters nowadays when considering candidates will look them up in tandem on social media networks like LinkedIn or Facebook. A generic avatar or an unprofessional photo is not the impression you want to give to a future employer. An online photo is also very useful for social networking and events – it creates a personable air of familiarity and people generally feel at ease with people they have already had access to. I have been recognised at functions and it was a great ice-breaker and promotes a feeling of buy-in.
It is essential that you look like the picture too – you need to present an authentic, credible and consistent brand. I recently did some social media training and my trainer advised that the same photo should ideally be distributed across all the social media platforms. The fastest growing social networks are those which are focused on images such as Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook. There is no escaping this emphasis on visual perception.
Personal Assistants have to recognise the value of their personal impact and how it is impossible to not have an image. Many managers rely heavily on their PA and give them a high level of responsibility so you are in effect a brand ambassador for your role, your boss, your company and ultimately the PA profession.
To conclude I firmly believe that a professional headshot should be viewed as an investment in yourself. A solid profile implies that the person is an expert in their chosen field and confident in their chosen personal brand and values.
Your personal brand is made up of what people see, say, hear and read. What is your headshot saying about you?
Jennifer Corcoran is an Office Manager with 20 years' admin/PA experience working with Senior Executives. She has worked within Crédit Agricole CIB for 10 years and currently supports both a Global and London Head of Ship Finance. Jennifer describes herself as: "enthusiastic about giving something back in life and helping people. I am very passionate about adding value and giving a voice to the PA profession and would like to think of myself as a champion for the PA role."