Why Job Seekers Over 50 MUST Have a Professional Headshot

Why Job Seekers Over 50 MUST Have a Professional Headshot

When you’re over age 50 and seeking a job, you’ll often encounter subtle—and not-so-subtle—age discrimination from potential employers. In fact, 65% of older workers say age is an obstacle to getting a job.

But why? Well, many employers fear that older workers will want a higher salary than younger employees or that they won’t stay in jobs where they make less than they’re used to. In addition, some employers think that older workers will be slow to adapt to new technologies and costly to train, even though studies have found that there’s no correlation between age and work performance.

If you’re on the job hunt, the best way to overcome these biases is to be prepared for them and do your best to combat judgments recruiters and potential employers may make about you based solely on your age.

You will be judged by how you look.

Your appearance matters.The way you look and present yourself can help you get your dream job. Or it can cause you to miss out on job opportunities.

But that’s not fair, you might be thinking, I should be judged on my skills and experience! You definitely should, but the fact is we all make snap judgments based on appearance every day, especially employers. A CareerBuilder survey found that appearances not only affect your ability to get hired but can also affect your chances of getting a promotion.

That’s why it’s so important to have a quality, professional headshot on hand during your job search. After all, 41% of recruiters say that seeing a photo of a candidate impacts their first impression, and you want to make sure you come across as the perfect candidate for the job!

You need to have an online presence.

One of the reasons employers are reluctant to hire older workers is that they fear they’re not comfortable with digital technology. A strong online presence can debunk this belief and prove that you’re capable of adapting and learning new skills.

In the last decade, most of the hiring process has moved online, which means you’ll need to be more active on social media, especially LinkedIn. A LinkedIn profile without a photo is an immediate turnoff for recruiters and potential employers, as it suggests you have something to hide, so make sure you complete your profile with both a profile image and a cover photo.

You’ll also want to use your headshot anywhere you have a digital presence, from blog posts or articles you’ve guest-written on other people’s websites to your own professional website or portfolio. Even your email account will need an image, and a quality headshot is the perfect way to convey that you’re trustworthy and professional.

And you need to make a good first impression online.

You may have the best smile and firmest handshake, but these days a potential employer is most likely to first see you online. In fact, 96% of recruiters use social media to find candidates, and they often scan profiles quickly, usually less than 10 seconds. Of that brief time, 20% is used to evaluate photos.

Most employers expect younger workers to have an edge online, so having an impressive LinkedIn profile can put you ahead and cause recruiters to sit up and take notice. Make sure your profile photo is high-quality, instead of a casual photo taken by a family member or friend.

The right headshot should convey friendliness, approachability, professionalism, and confidence. That may seem like a lot to capture in just one image, but that’s where a professional photographer can help! They know how to pose you, how to create the best lighting, and how to edit your photos to create the perfect images for your job search.

You have to show that you know your stuff.

As an older job seeker, you have something younger workers just don’t have—a wealth of experience and knowledge. While you may not have as much digital experience, it’s important to include on your resume skills that are useful in any work environment, like communication and managerial experience.

Highlight your years of work experience on your LinkedIn profile so potential employees can clearly see that you know what you’re doing and would be a valuable addition to their team. And be creative! Think about the many things you’ve learned in your career and how those skills can translate to the positions for which you’re applying.

To complete your LinkedIn profile, choose a quality headshot that shows you looking professional, approachable, and trustworthy. Remember that, no matter how unfair it is, you will be judged on your appearance, and an impressive headshot can be that strong first impression you need to capture an employer’s interest.

So…what makes a good headshot?

A professional photographer can help you with posing, lighting, and even wardrobe, but here are a few tips to help you get the perfect photos for your career:

  • Make eye contact—Look toward the camera but focus beyond it to help create an impression of directness and approachability.
  • Smile—Research has shown that a smile helps create a more likeable impression.
  • Dress like you would for a job interview—That means no wrinkled or casual clothes. Look crisp and sharp. And check out our wardrobe guide for more information on what to wear.
  • Keep your headshot current—Don’t rely on the same photo for a decade. Instead, update your photo every couple years.

Professional headshots can put you ahead and help you advance your career, making sure you get exactly where you want to go.

6 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

6 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

When you’re looking for a job, it’s essential to have a positive online presence. After all, most potential employers will look up your social media profiles and search for you online, and you want your digital footprint to reflect positively on you and your career. Check out these 6 tips for building a solid online presence that will help you get the job you want.  

Create an online portfolio.

Building your own website is a great way to show off your previous work and expertise in a polished way. If you’ve never created an online portfolio before, don’t stress! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Use your resume as a starting point and add extra details, like graphs, charts, white papers, or articles you’ve created. Keep it simple and easy to navigate and be sure to regularly update it so the information stays fresh.

Include keywords on your career website and in your resume.

Many companies use automated tracking systems to accept resumes which allow them to search for certain keywords and eliminate applications that don’t meet their requirements. So, if you want to get your resume to the right people and get through the digital sifting, you have to include the right keywords in your content. Think about words and phrases recruiters might use when looking to fill the type of position you’re seeking and including them in the body of your resume. Don’t just create a list of words in your resume, but make sure they fit smoothly and cohesively into your content. And be sure to include these words and phrases in your online portfolio as well, the better to show up in searches for potential positions!

Monitor your social media presence.

Some people think they can keep their personal social media separate from their career, but that isn’t the best idea. Social media can be a great way to build personal connections that can lead to professional opportunities, and your personal profiles should present the same face to potential employers as your LinkedIn.

Put time and effort into your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t just throw together a LinkedIn profile in a few minutes. Take time to build out your account with a professional photo and detailed job history. You’d be surprised how many recruiters check LinkedIn first when scoping out possible new hires, so you want to make sure your profile is just as detailed as the resume you submit to hiring managers and recruiters.

Look for opportunities to create online content.

Show off your expertise in a blog post, whether by creating your own blog or guest-writing on someone else’s. Blogging is an excellent way to expand and improve your online presence, and you don’t even have to be an amazing writer to create a solid blog post. Just make sure whatever you post is error-free and don’t write anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to read.

Be active online.

You won’t have much of an online presence if you don’t interact with other people online. Participate in forums and comment on content that interests you on LinkedIn. Make sure your comments are thoughtful and don’t get involved in debates, but definitely take time to be more involved on the websites you’re a part of. You never know what opportunities you’ll find as a result!

By building your online presence, you can open yourself up to more career opportunities and growth, as well as build a network of personal and professional connections to help you find the job of your dreams!