In an era where digital presence is intertwined with career advancement, a professionally captured and polished headshot can set you apart in the vast sea of online profiles. Recognizing the power of a first impression, the Opportunity Hub broke precedent by recently introducing an invaluable resource for LSA undergraduates – the campus’ first-ever Professional Headshot Booth. This innovative addition to our repertoire of career-enhancing tools has been empowering LSA students in presenting their best selves to potential employers.

Donated by a generous Hub supporter, Stephen Aronson, our Professional Headshot Booth was launched in March 2023 and has since become a signature feature of how the Hub prepares students launching into life after college. This exceptional service, offered free of charge, aligns perfectly with the Hub’s mission to create access to purposeful opportunities as undergraduates and emerging professionals.

In just over a year, the booth has welcomed over 1,200 LSA undergraduates, each leaving with a key component of their professional toolkit – goodbye, iPhone selfies! The importance of a professional headshot cannot be overstated; for many employers and graduate schools, a LinkedIn profile or personal website provides the first glimpse into a candidate’s professionalism and potential. In fact, on LinkedIn, users with a photo receive far more engagement: 21 times more profile views and 9 times more connection requests. By offering a high-quality, convenient, and cost-free solution, we’re removing barriers and leveling the playing field for liberal arts and sciences students who seek out this essential asset. 

This service extends beyond drop-ins into the booth; while collaborating with student organizations to host all-access events to Hub resources, the Professional Headshot Booth is a key cornerstone of our service to students. Most recently, we partnered with La Casa, an organization steadfast in its mission to support the Latinx/e community at U-M through a variety of cultural, educational, professional, and social initiatives. Students involved in La Casa were invited to take, what was for most, their first professional-quality headshot, a tangible asset they can take with them as they pursue their future endeavors. This collaboration underscores our commitment to inclusive excellence, ensuring that every LSA student has the chance to access resources that can propel them towards their professional goals. 

The Professional Headshot Booth isn’t about taking fun pictures. It’s a jumping-off point for students to reflect on their professional identity and personal branding. It’s also a vehicle for setting a first good impression and a tool for generating prospects while job searching.

To Steve Aronson, whose generosity made this resource possible, we extend our gratitude! Your vision has directly impacted the personal and professional journeys of LSA students who are the next generation of scholars, thinkers, innovators, and leaders. 

As we reflect on a year of impactful engagement through the Professional Headshot Booth, we are emboldened to continue this vital work. The Hub remains committed to empowering students, not only to look the part, but also to acquire the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to lead a life of purposeful and meaningful work.

Here’s to capturing the success of every LSA student, one headshot at a time.