Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Alida Goncalves poses for her headshots Wednesday at YWCA Cambridge under the direction of photographer Abhi Indrekar. (Photo: Luciano Cesta)

Several women took one step closer to their next job Wednesday with professional headshots arranged by The Loop Lab, a nonprofit that seeks to empower people of color to go into the media arts, and YWCA Cambridge.

The two-hour Woman’s History Month event was held in the auditorium of YWCA Cambridge’s Central Square location on Temple Street, where the Loop Lab set up lighting and a backdrop. Abhi Indrekar, a Loop Lab production manager and filmmaker, was photographer.

Chris Hope, Loop Lab founder and executive director, said many people are looking to get into Cambridge’s tech economy, but there are barriers to entry.

“We want to support those women in the city, we want to help advance their progress, and a huge part of that having a professional headshot,” Hope said. “When we think about social media and LinkedIn, when we think about having a portfolio as a prospective employee, those things become critical.”

LinkedIn, a résumé and networking site that claims 900 million members worldwide, says profiles with photos are 14 times more likely to be seen.

“Having them professionally done, where it’s a really crisp image for LinkedIn and your social media, just all-around looks professional, more put together,” said Whitney Mooney, development and marketing manager for YWCA Cambridge.

Job-seekers investing in headshots should expect professional ones to cost between $200 and $400, LinkedIn said last year, but the ones taken Wednesday were free.

Each of the seven or eight women shot by Indrekar are expected to get their images within around a week, Mooney said, and could then add them to their LinkedIn résumés and social media accounts and begin reaching out to potential employers with a new image.

Alida Goncalves, a participant in the YWCA’s programs, said that her experience getting her headshots was great. “It’s a great opportunity and I love it. Everyone is so nice,” Goncalves said.

Vice mayor Alanna Mallon appeared at the event to greet the women and give encouragement. The event was “uplifting and exciting,” she said.

“It’s a really joyous occasion. The Loop Lab does an amazing job reaching out into the Cambridge community,” Mallon said.

Hope highlighted the cooperation of the Loop Lab and the YWCA. “It just makes sense that you have these two powerhouse organizations rooted in Cambridge passionate about the population of women that are supported here, really working together to think about what can we do to empower the next generation of workers,” Hope said.