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Technical tips for improving your profile photo

The tips we have seen in the previous post, on how to improve your photo in your CV, are all very well, but pointless if you, or the person holding the camera, don’t know how to take a photo. Here are some recommendations that will help you if you have some ability with your camera:

Put the camera on a tripod or support it properly otherwise. There is nothing worse than a blurred photo.

Work with a telephoto lens; 70 to 200 mm focal length is best. If the lens is close to you and at a wide angle, however, the face will be very distorted. Better that the camera is some way away and focuses in on you with the zoom to maintain the proportions of your face.

Lighting must be gentle and illuminate three-quarters of your face, so that you have volume in the face and brightness in both eyes. If the light that reaches your face from above is somewhat fractured, better still: the shading from the nose will be more natural. This is not as complicated as it might sound. A white-curtained window on a sunny day might be enough to achieve a gentle lighting effect (careful about the background detail!).

Don’t use the camera’s automatic mode, above all if you are inside, because the camera will probably use the flash or increase ISO sensitivity by too much. If you daren’t use Manual mode (M), Program mode (P) is found on most cameras and is a way of taking photos semi-automatically, while still controlling the camera.
Technical tips for improving your profile photo

Such photos are normally better with more rather than less light. If you don’t know how to do this with your camera, look for the square icon with which you can increase the amount of light in the photo (over-exposure).

If you know how to handle the camera, open the iris to help the light enter and blur the background by losing field depth.

If you see the colors are dominating too much (normally this is with warm and cold colors), correct this defect by selecting white balance – WB – in the camera. This corresponds to the low light with which you are taking the photo. It’s very simple; you just need to choose the icon with this WB symbol, which relates to the existing light source. Check if it is better than when the white balance is on automatic.

If you are inside, to avoid blurred or dark (under-exposed) photography it will be convenient to increase the ISO. Up to 400, the majority of cameras conserve quality well, as do more modern ones at 800 to 1600. Don’t worry too much about a slight loss of definition, since you are not going to enlarge the photo excessively (when you would most notice it).

As mentioned in our first post, we would advise you against using the camera’s flash. It flattens the image and generates very unwelcome brightness in the face.

If neither you nor anyone else close to you can be considered expert photographers, don’t rule out the possibility of going to a photography studio. In half an hour, you can emerge with several good quality shots.

Tools for retouching your photos

Now that you have the almost perfect photo, the moment to edit it arrives.

We are not suggesting face-lifting or other abuses with Photoshop here, but on many occasions a slight improvement to the photo can help your case; above all, improving the light and color, and (why not?) removing that imperfection in the your face that comes out to play at the worst possible moments.

In the computer

As well as the already well-known Adobe Photoshop, and its similar free counterpart, Gimp, there are other simpler programs you can use and achieve more than satisfactory results with:

Photoscape, a very simple program in which you can improve the photograph a lot, easily, and it’s free!

Picasa, the highly intuitive Google program, not only for editing photos but cataloging and publishing them.

Lunapic, a program you don’t have to download, but instead use on its website, to which you can upload, edit and save photos from.

From your smartphone

If you want to touch up your photo with a mobile phone – we do not recommend this, by the way – all so-called smartphones have very simple tools in their menus for editing photo albums, including cropping images and improving light and color.

If you prefer something more advanced, there are applications you can download for touching up photos, such as Snapseed and Photo Editor, with which you can produce a more interesting image in an entertaining manner and without going over the top. The use of creative filters in a photo for your CV or professional profile is not recommended, however.

We trust these tips will help you improve your photo and communicate a feeling of confidence and presence, something all companies are looking for, to add to the fantastic abilities you already offer.

 

 

SantiGarciaSanti García, photography lecturer at EFMAD (@gondebel)

www.cursodefoto.com

How to improve your profile photo

They say we are neither as ugly as our passport photos, nor as handsome or beautiful as our mothers and grandmothers would like us to think. Whatever the case, although we know that photos are not everything in life, they are an important factor when looking for work, reflecting who we are and inspiring, or not, a company’s trust.

Here are a series of tips to help you get the most out of your photo:

Before the photo is taken

The best advice is that you take the photo (or better still, someone else takes it) without rushing, in a calm environment, without very bright lights. Appearing natural and smiling is the best way to assure your profile photo and CV find success.

Errors to avoid

The following errors are more common than you might think and do not help when trying to make that good first impression. Avoid photos:

With little or too much light, where it is difficult to make out the face.

That are unfocused or blurred. If the fault is slight, perhaps it won’t be noticed in a small size, but it is better not to take the risk.

That are edited from others where the background disturbs or which feature the shoulders of friends. No matter how beautiful you looked on your wedding day, leave these shots in the album.

Which are highly pixelated, where you have had to enlarge the image so much that even you don’t recognize yourself.

How to improve your profile photo

Taken using the camera’s flash: it will flatten the image to avoid shadow and create unwanted brightness on the face.

Which are completely in profile, taken from above or below. Remember that this is not a selfie and that taking photos in such a way will distort your image.

Taken in sunlight, which produces too much contrast; you will also probably wear a forced expression.

Where you are giving a talk, using a microphone, etc. You might be a great speaker, but we do not recommend this.

Where you appear with accessories, even though they might be connected to your work (a camera if you are a photographer, a computer if you are a programmer, or sat in a meeting room, etc.). You don’t need props to demonstrate your worthiness.

What should you do

Use a clear, clean and simple background. It does not have to be white, but it should not distract attention from the subject, which is you!

If possible, organize the photo so that the background is not too close that it is unfocused. It must not compete visually with you!

Wear appropriate neutral clothing. Color is good, but it shouldn’t be too intense. It’s an error to wear a suit if you are not going to use it at work. A shirt without a tie, or simple blouse, is always a good option.

Smile! You don’t have to split your cheeks smiling, but nothing transmits confidence like a natural, sincere smile. Show your teeth, too; closed lips give something of a forced look.

If you like to wear make-up, let it be gently and naturally applied. Too much make-up comes across negatively.

How to pose

Point your body to the left, since in CVs and web profiles the photo is almost always situated top left. This way, you will be pointing the body toward the inside of the document or page, achieving a better integration.

Look at the camera, of course, but remembering that your body should be at an angle to it. One trick is to lift a foot so that you turn slightly, naturally. If you put your body at 45° from the camera, the face at 30°, and look directly at the lens, even better.

Your shoulders should be visible in the fore of the cropped photo. If you are in the middle distance, crop below the elbows. With open images, however, you run the risk of your head appearing too small. Leave very little space above your head when cropping, so that you fill the frame better.

Incline your head slightly. The camera should be pointed at you at the same height, or a little bit above to profile the chin better.

What should you do with your arms? Don’t leave them loose at the sides; if you prefer a middle distance shot, where they will be seen, cross your arms so that both hands can be seen, laying them on the biceps, for example, which communicates firmness rather than defensiveness.

Extend the body and don’t hunch the back, again transmitting more self-confidence.

You can read more tips on photograpy in this post.

 

 

SantiGarciaSanti García, photography lecturer at EFMAD (@gondebel)

www.cursodefoto.com

Tips to improve your CV (II)

Here is the second release of the tips to improve your resume. You can also read the first part we recently published in this blog:

6. PERSONAL INFORMATION. Adding your personal tastes, hobbies, etc. is not recommended unless they can clearly mean a benefit. That is, if you want to work in a company where you know for sure that there is widespread taste for sport and you are an athlete, it is something that may help you. Otherwise, knowing that you like movies but hate rainy Sundays is not relevant to future employer.

7. CONSTANT UPDATE. The CV is not a document set in stone. Check it frequently, add or remove data depending on how your career and your training evolves, update, upgrade or adapt aspects … This way you will be familiar with it and will be a useful tool.

Consejos para mejorar tu CV (II)

8. CONTACT. Writing your full address does not add any value, but  it does writing the city where you live if it’s the same city as the company. If it is a big city, you can also include the district or neighborhood. Regarding the other address, the email, always provide a formal one, with your name and surname and not that funny nickname by which your friends used to know you in college. This can be a good place to include a link to your LinkedIn profile so they can easily find your references.

9. FORGET ABOUT MICROSOFT WORD. A long ago we surpassed the presentation by hand or typewriter, so is with Microsoft Word. If you send your CV online, which is most likely, convert it to PDF. You will not run the risk that the receiver has a different Office version and format mismatch, and it will also take him less time to open, something that he  or she will surely appreciate.

10. PUT YOURSELF IN THE COMPANY’S PLACE. To summarize all the above tips, the most useful is to put in the place of the person who will read your resume. If you received your CV and had to approve it or reject it, what kind of data you think are expendable? Would your CV really pass your filter? When the honest answer to this question is “yes”, you’ll be closer to your goal.

Tips to improve your CV (I)

What should be our presentation card when introducing ourselves to the companies is often one of our greatest enemies. Usually, the human resources departments have a limited time for all the amount of curriculum vitae they receive, so the first to be discarded will be those that do not provide the information, in content and shape, that businesses expect.

To convert the CV into an ally to help us go through all filters satisfactorily there are some simple guidelines that can open many doors for us and put us in an advantageous position against other candidates:

Metropolis

1. PROPER EXTENSION: Before we start reading, what catches our eye is the amount of information. Don’t write three pages if you can write two and don’t write two if you can write one. Lighten the weight by telling only what is important. It is assumed that you know how to surf the Internet, omit it.

2. ADJUST THE CV: Find out about the company you want to work in and highlight those aspects of your training and experience that are more consistent with their activity. If you decide to promote all content alike, the feeling will be that you have spammed with the same document dozens of companies to try your luck.

3. MANDATORY REVIEW: It should not be something to warn about, but unfortunately resumes with spelling mistakes, syntactical errors, repetition of words or phrases… arrive everyday to the human resources departments. When you have finished writing it, review it several times. And when you’re done reviewing it several times, check it once again.

4. DO NOT LIE: It is a commonly accepted action, but in the long run is negative. If thanks to your “little lies” you pass the filter and reach a personal interview, not only you will be exposed, but it is very likely that from that moment you are banned in that company.

5. THE IMPORTANCE OF PHOTO: If you choose to include a photo, make sure it’s formal, not a cut from night party pic. It is also important to use a recent image, so attempt to change it from time to time when you update your resume.

In the next post we will offer another five tips to improve your resume.

En la próxima entrada te ofreceremos otros cinco consejos para mejorar tu currículum vitae.

Sharpen your basic skills (III): Organisation and Planning

“It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well” – René Descartes

This week we continue with a new basic skill: organisation and planning. If we were to point out where mistakes and failures originate in many projects, it would not so much be about poorly-defined objectives and strategies and would be more to do with difficulties in defining and successfully carrying through implementation plans.

Good plans that are well organised result in things getting done on time, make better use of resources and help us anticipate potential problems before they occur. In short, they give us more time to think in the medium and long term, ensuring success.

This skill is of paramount importance in organisations with complex businesses that require the coordination of a large number of people, resources and activities in order to carry out initiatives and plans. At the end of the day, profitability is highly linked to the ability to plan, organise and control necessary resources.

People who have developed this skill know how to:

Establish goals and challenges

Precisely determine the duration and difficulty level of projects

Detail the scope of work, with necessary deadlines

Create timeframes and assign tasks based on resources

Anticipate possible problems and prepare to address them

Measure performance based on results

Evaluate the results achieved

It is also important to point out that an excess of this skill can also be a limiting factor and even prove harmful, leading a person to excessively depend on plans, rules, procedures and structures at the expense of flexibility to adapt to new or unexpected situations.

Experience, context and putting other skills into play –such as the ones we have seen in this episode series including teamwork , achievement of results– are like lighthouses that will help lead us, organised and well-planned, toward our port of destination.

If you would like additional information you can learn more about developing this skill in our Candidate Development Centre.

 

José Miguel Baeza
ACCIONA Corporate Training Department

 

Train your baseline skills (II): Achieving Results

“If you expect different results, don’t do the same thing over and over again”, Albert Einstein

A few weeks ago we began a series of posts to approach some of the most in-demand baseline skills for recruitment processes. In that case we discussed Teamwork.

We’re continuing this series of episodes by talking about “Achieving results” or the will to carry out actions to achieve desired objectives. When this skill is developed, a person focuses on objectives, improving efficiency and eliminating superfluous activities that could mean that expected results are not achieved.

What does this mean for people in organisations?

-Searching for solutions to present or future problems.

-Proposing new ideas or taking the initiative.

-Working with a vision of the future and not just focused on the day-to-day.

-Managing resources with attention to costs, benefits and quality.

-Identifying and eliminating non-productive activity, focusing work on generating profit.

Achieving results does not only mean defining objectives and verifying their fulfilment. It goes further, establishing those actions that are necessary within or beyond your responsibility in order to “make things happen”.

This leads to achieving your own objectives and others achieving their objectives too. Integrating any shared objectives. Developing action strategies and showing a wide-ranging ability to make decisions.

What principles develop this skill?

-Identify and internalise your goals, analysing possible obstacles that could arise along the way.

-Assume calculated risks, higher performance, less time, greater quality, lower costs: these are just a few of the parameters that come into play.

-Focus efforts on what is really important, delegate and/or supervise urgent activities, focusing on activities with greater added value.

-Look for help and ask for feedback. And if your plans don’t provide results? The best solution is to ask experts on the subject, ask for help, resolve questions and look for alternatives. Ask for feedback from your managers, colleagues and co-workers.

-Avoid negativity, leave “it can’t be done” behind and focus on “how it can be done”.

These are just a few of the points in the “Achieving Results” outline. You can see the whole picture in our Candidate Development Centre by clicking on this link (in Spanish)
José Miguel Baeza
ACCIONA Corporate Training Department

Six tips during a job interview

If you have an interview soon, we recommend the reading of these “6 Tips during a job interview”

1. Let the interviewer take the initiative. Listen carefully and take (a short) time to respond

2. Do not interrupt pointlessly.

3. Convey interest and enthusiasm for the company and the offer.

4. Express yourself clearly and simply.

5. Know your CV well Remember important dates.

6. Answer questions you would ask about your CV if you were the interviewer.

 

Other related articles:

5 frequent questions at a job interview
The intention behind interview questions

 

Laura Alcaraz Escribano
Development Department- ACCIONA Human Resources

Train your core skills (I): Teamwork

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities” Stephen Covey.

There has recently been much talk about new key skills that will come into play with the digital economy and in an increasingly global market. Digital connectivity and communication, digital working and leadership, social intelligence, adaptive thinking, virtual collaboration and cognitive management are just some of the latest to emerge. Interesting, although many of them are related to the skill which we will be discussing in this post, teamwork, which is an old classic but no less relevant for it.

It is, without a doubt, one of the so-called core skills for any selection process, performance assessment or review in any organisation. It’s something apparently easy to understand but not so simple to put into practice, like everything in life it needs training. And it’s considered a core skill because it brings distinguishing characteristics to companies and guarantees, in many cases, the ongoing success of their business model. They tend to be collective in nature, that’s to say, applicable to the organisation as a whole and are hard to copy when they are part of the company’s DNA.

So, what’s team work? It’s the ability to work with others, inside and outside the team, establishing an efficient working relationship and fluid communication that contributes to meeting objectives. The team is truly a team when “me” turns into “we“. What links the individuals making up the team is the pursuit of a shared objective, and the manner in which to achieve it. A team only exists when it takes collective responsibility for something, whereas within the group the individual’s responsibility prevails.

Would you like to join our team? (+)

 

José Miguel Baeza
ACCIONA Corporate Training Department

5 frequent questions at a job interview

1. What do you know about us?

2. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself in five years time?

3. What is the most difficult project you have ever tackled? Why?

4. What is the most complicated situation you have ever faced at work? Why?

5. Which do you prefer, working on your own or in a team?

If you have any upcoming interview, I recommend these related articles:
10 tips for a successful job interview
The intention behind interview questions
By the time you arrive at the interview you’ve already got the job (or not)
Laura Alcaraz Escribano
Development Department- ACCIONA Human Resources

Finding the perfect line-up

Despite what you might think, we are not going to talk about football but rather the perfect alignment between the values of an organisation and the values of each individual aspiring to form part of it. Values – both individual and corporate values – are the principles on which culture is based. Their importance lies in the fact that values underpin both individual and collective forms of conduct.

If these values – those of the employee and those of the organisation – are in line with one another, the result will be a healthy organisation where individuals find themselves in their natural habitat and therefore more motivated and committed to the company. By asking the right questions during the job interview, both the interviewer and the candidate should find ways to reveal the value map adopted by the other and thereby provide themselves with the ability to assess how well aligned they are.

Which would you identify as your values? How important do you think they are when looking for employment? If you identify with our values, we recommend you go to the job offers section where you will find vacancies and can directly upload your CV.

 
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