The Professional Bio Statement that you are working on for your first major project needs a professional photo that shows readers both what you look like and something about your personality and style. I know that none of you would use a bathroom mirror selfie, but based on what students have submitted in the past, I want to provide some specific guidelines.
What to Wear
- Wear the kind of clothes that you would wear to work or to an interview. Be professional.
- If you are pursuing a military career or currently in the Corps, a photo in your uniform works for this assignment.
- Don’t use a photo in which you are wearing formalwear. Ring Dance or Wedding photos of you in a tux or formal dress are not appropriate. Your readers will know you are trying to make-do with a photo that was clearly for another purpose.
Choose Your Setting
- Take your photo in a neutral location or in the kind of workplace where you hope to be employed. For instance, a photo on a construction site would be fine if you’re a building construction major.
- Alternately, take your photo in a location that relates to your career. If you are a planning to be a veterinarian, you can take a photo with your horse in the stable or outside with your dog.
- Be sure there is nothing unusual in the background of your photo. Check for anything that is out of place. You want your readers to focus on you, not the background.
- Ensure that the photo focuses on you. Your significant other and friends do not belong in the photo. Crop out anything that doesn’t belong.
You will find a lot more useful tips in the step-by-step tutorial in the Hubspot post How to Take Your Own Professional Headshot: A Bookmarkable Guide, which says it takes 15 minutes to read. The article covers everything from how to set up your camera to editing your final choice.
Take advantage of feedback from your writing group as well. If you can’t decide which photo is best, ask them to help you decide.
Photo credits: Self Portrait in Barbados by Jens karlsson on Flickr, used under a CC-BY license, and Me for Lindberg glasses by Jens karlsson on Flickr, used under a CC-BY license.