Which one of these groups sound like popular business sayings:

  • Put your best foot forward
  • Clothes make the man
  • You only get one chance to make a first impression
  • Opportunity doesn’t knock twice
  • Hire character, train skill
  • A pictures worth a thousand words
  • You’ve got to spend money to make money
  • Image is everything
  • Your first impression is the last impression

-or-

  • You might not like it at first but trust me, it’ll grow on you
  • If you don’t make a great first impression, you’ll get another chance
  • Wear casual clothes to an interview because then you’ll be comfortable and you can look good in a suit later when they hire you.

Unfortunately the second one is not the world we live in. Victoria has the highest mainland unemployment rate in the country and it seems like every week another Multinational is laying off literally thousands of workers. You’re looking for a job? So are a LOT of people. The job market isn’t bad, it’s not like there aren’t jobs out there. If there weren’t any jobs do you think all those sites like Seek, CareerOne, JobSearch, MyCareer could stay up and running? The job market has just become more cut-throat.

The job market is just like the real estate market. When there are lots of houses for sale and only a few buyers, the value of the house goes down. When there are less houses and more buyers, the house value goes up. It’s basic supply and demand. You’re the buyer and the job is the house. Right now there are less houses and more buyers, but there are always houses for sale, it just means that right now the houses (your potential employers) can afford to be picky. They NEED to hire people to keep their company going, but they only want the best and the first step to being the best is to look the best. You could graduate from Harvard with an MBA but if you look like you’re homeless nobody is going to give you the time of day. I have a Louis Vuitton wallet that I don’t even like. It’s too big to fit in my pockets and I think the design is ugly but I bought it because people are impressed when I pull my business card out of a $500 wallet. I used to pull them out of a $30 leather Ramones wallet that was attached to a big chain. You know who that impressed? Nobody.

The man in the photo at the top came to me looking for a new professional portrait to put on his website and linkedIn. About 80% of people I shoot corporate head shots for already have jobs, they just want to spruce up their image to get even better jobs or more clients because they know the value of looking the part. When companies search for people on linkedin it looks like this:

They see your name, a brief description of what you do, where you are and your photo. Your name and location won’t impress them. Your description might, but your photo definitely can. An unlikely but plausible situation: An employer looking for an employee, only has 5 minutes before they have to get to that meeting. Two people come up in the search results, exactly the same credentials, live in the same city, one has a photo of them taken while they were on holidays at the beach and the other has a corporate headshot. Both are good photos, but one person looks the part. The boss clicks on his profile, candidate looks great, boss goes to meeting and the other guy is forgotten. Seriously, next time you’re on linkedIn, have a look at everyones profile pictures, then contact me. I will set you up with a photo that will get you hired or help you climb that ladder. You go to work in a suit and you should be photographed in a suit.

Remember, if they are trimming the fat, you need to look like prime rib, if they are issuing redundancies you need to look essential.