From LinkedIn to the Interview: Tips for Styling Your Hair for Professional Settings

Augusta Falletta
young woman professional

Image via Getty Images

In a generation of selfie-takers, it can be easy to get into a habit of how to take a picture that will get the most likes on Instagram or Facebook. You know your angles, which hairstyle you look best in, and which filter to use. What we often don’t pay attention to, though, is how to make sure our professional photos best represent us online.

Whether you’re searching for your first job out of college or you’re looking to make a career move, knowing how to present yourself in a more professional setting is crucial. According to Linkedn, 90% of employers say the first thing they notice about you is your photo, and recruiters spend 19% of their time on LinkedIn looking at profile pictures. The stakes are high, and it’s not worth it to miss out on an awesome job because of a profile picture.

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The rule of “less is more” for makeup may be easy enough, but when it comes to professional hairstyles, there can be a bit of confusion about what works and what doesn’t. So, to get a better handle on how to style your hair professionally — for both your LinkedIn profile and an interview — we went to Aussie hairstylist Sarah Potempa, who has partnered with P&G for their new Face the World campaign to help educate students on how to present themselves professionally to potential employers. Read on for Sarah’s best tips!

Beauty High: What are three professional-looking hairstyles that girls can do at home, and what styling advice do you have for these?

Sarah Potempa: First, voluminous and smooth. The key to having straight hair look professional is to add volume at the root and light movement at the ends. Start by prepping your hair with Aussie Aussome Volume Styling Mousse to the roots and blow dry in an upward motion. Then, using your flat iron, lift up at the root and create a large C-shape motion as you glide the iron downward. Another great option is the Sarah Potempa Ceramic Styling Iron with blowout attachments to create the movement for you by gliding down (similar to curling a ribbon with scissors)!

Second, polished waves. When curling your hair, always have the curls go in the same direction when trying to achieve a smooth look. After you curl, spray a nylon/boar bristle brush with a flexible hairspray, like Aussie Mega Hairspray and fully brush out the curls. This will bring all the waves together and is perfectly suitable for a professional, long-lasting style.

Third, the clean bun. This is a simple, clean look that can last from the work day into an evening event. Try to change the placement of your bun to find what works best with your face shape. Sometimes lifting your bun higher than you think will open up your neckline and enhance your facial features. Try the Sarah Potempa Wrap-Up for a quick, easy, no-bobby-pins look!

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Are there any hairstyles you should absolutely shy away from in your professional profile pictures? 

According to LinkedIn, your profile is 11x more likely to be viewed if a photo is included. Overall, you want to avoid trying to look like someone you’re not in your profile photo. For example, if you have gorgeous, tight, natural curls and that is how you wear your hair, don’t show up to your photo shoot with stick straight hair. Instead, enhance your natural curls with a curling iron the same size as your curls, wrapping it around each section for a polished, shiny look.

Avoid “scrunching” your hair with product. In real life, this is a great concept as it looks and feels fresh, natural, and beachy. In a photo, it comes across frizzy and messy.

Stay away from a product heavy slick ponytail or bun – From a side or ¾ profile shot, this look is chic and gorgeous, but often times in a professional photo, you only see the front-on look. When you can’t see the hair in the bun or ponytail, it appears flat and possibly greasy.

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When going in for an interview, are there any quick tricks for saving your hair from disaster (like if it unexpectedly rains, or it’s way more humid outside than you planned on and you’ve got frizz)?

Keep a lightweight smoothing serum, like Aussie Miraculously Smooth Smoothing Serum, in your purse (especially if you are going to an important meeting or an interview)! Pump a pea size amount into your hand, rub together and run through middle to ends of hair. With any excess product, smooth the flyways on top last.

I recently launched a cordless rechargeable flat iron called the Jet-Setter, which is perfect for situations like this! You can tame frizz and fly-aways, fix bangs, and keep your blowout or curls looking bouncy and fresh at any time.

If you find yourself without any hair-specific products, use what is in your purse! Hand cream for a quick frizz fix, lip balm to smooth unruly curls, or even a pen or pencil can be used to twist your hair up into a chic updo in seconds.

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