According to psychology, a first impression is ‘the event when one person first encounters another person, evaluates them, and forms a mental representation of that person’. Now that word encounter is important, as it does not just apply to a face-to-face meeting. When you have a profile with us on Teacherhorizons, your photo is what gives potential schools that all important first impression.
So we want you to get it just right, and in doing so, give yourself the very best chance at getting an interview with your dream international school. Through our combined experience in recruitment, teaching, and international senior leadership, our team has a uniquely trained eye and can pick out problems in profile pictures at a glance. So here are our key DO and DON’Ts:
DON’T: Take a selfie
Everyone loves a good selfie, we all know that. According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18-24! But it’s important to remember that this profile is on Teacherhorizons, not Facebook. Schools want to see a professional picture, not half of your arm and your face at an odd angle.
DO: Ensure your rotation is correct
When you upload to your Teacherhorizons profile from a smartphone, we often find it rotates your picture sideways for some strange reason. Having a sideway picture definitely doesn’t give the impression you are tech savvy! Try to upload from your computer, or alternatively, the next chance you get, log in on a computer and check it’s upright. To rotate the picture is easy enough, just download it and rotate it, then re-upload. If you are struggling to do this, email our tech team at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will sort it for you.
DON’T: Use a photo with kids or animals
Animals are cute, but schools will not be impressed by a picture of you and your cat or dog. This isn’t Tinder! Secondly, it is important to schools that you can build good relationships with your students, but don’t use a picture of you and your class, to get this across. Posting photos of students online is actually illegal without the permission of the parents, so do be careful!
DO: Wear something smart
If you went to an interview, what would you wear? Whatever it is, put that on for your picture. We suggest men wear a shirt and tie (jacket optional) and women wear a smart top or shirt. Feel free to wear pyjamas on your bottom half… no one will ever know!
DON’T: Be really far away
Take a head and shoulders shot. That way you are close up to the camera and schools don’t have to squint to see you. We suggest a similar shot to a passport photo, but smart, and smiling. You’re allowed to show teeth!
DO: Check your background and lighting
Make sure you don’t have a window or bright light behind you, it makes you look like a silhouette. Similarly, if the light is right above you, it can make you look weary and tired. Test out the lighting in a few different places and use the best shot. In terms of background, a blank wall is good, but don’t feel limited to it, we also think a school or classroom background can be strong. Either way though, make it minimal, as you don’t want to detract from your lovely self!
DON’T: Be at a social event
The profile picture should be is a formal picture taken for the purpose of highlighting professionality. We find that lots of teachers put up shots of themselves at a wedding, since they are dressed smartly, but often that comes with a glass of champagne or surrounding family members. We would recommend taking that 5 minutes to delve into your cupboard and find similarly smart clothes, then ask someone to take another shot of just you.
DO: Ensure it is a clear, non-pixelated shot
This goes along with the social events issue. If you use a photo already taken, you often have to crop out that glass of wine, or the other people nearby. This changes the resolution of the shot and can make it blurred or funny shaped. Save yourself the hassle of Photoshop, and just take a new one!
DON’T: Take a picture of a picture
Speaking of passport photos, we often see people taking photos of the photo page of their passport. This just looks a little odd, and is often bad quality. It also may come across as a bit lazy, so upload a proper one.
Schools do love to see your personality shine through, so put on your best smile. Maybe imagine you got the job, use that face and that feeling, then 1,2,3 click!