“A picture is worth a thousand words,” so the saying goes. With that in mind, what is your profile picture saying about you? What might it be saying about your level of professionalism or attention to detail?
Your profile picture may affect the opportunities you’re presented with, especially on a social networking platform such as LinkedIn. If you’ve never met the other party in person, your profile picture is crucial to their overall impression of you.
In fact, studies show that recruiters spend more time looking at your profile picture than your skills or past experience. Your picture has a big impact on whether you attract recruiters or clients.
You should look credible, confident, and professional in your profile picture. If you’re wondering whether or not your profile picture is measuring up, check out these basic guidelines for choosing a professional picture:
1. Make Sure You Use a Photo
First and foremost, make sure you’re using a profile photo. This helps people put a face to your name or connect with the right person if you’ve met face to face. Also, LinkedIn profiles with a photo are seven times more likely to be viewed than profiles without a photo.
2. Use a Recent Photo
It’s only natural to choose a photo where you’re looking your best, but if your photo was taken 10 years ago, it’s too old. Don’t mislead people with your photo or they may be surprised when they meet you in person. Showcase an accurate picture of yourself.
Choose a recent photo of yourself that you’re confident with, but one that is true to what you look like.
3. Your Photo Should Include Only You
You should be the only subject in your picture; it shouldn’t include other objects, people, or pets. This is your picture for your professional profile, so it should focus on you.
4. Your Face Should be the Focus
You can have a beautiful and professional background, but it shouldn’t be the focus. Your face should be in focus and nothing should be obscuring it.
5. Wear Appropriate Attire
You should wear attire that you would wear in a business setting. Don’t choose a picture where you’re wearing casual clothes and a hat when you’re trying to convey your professionalism. Wear appropriate outfits and accessories, and make sure you’re freshly shaven or your hair is trimmed.
6. Keep Your Head Straight and Upright
Career coach Barbara Pachter says that women tend to tilt their head in photos, which makes them look less confident. By keeping your head straight and upright, you look more capable and self-assured.
7. Check Your Facial Expression
You want to look friendly and like someone other people want to work with. Make sure you’re not scowling or looking too serious; also make sure you’re not pulling a funny face. You should look confident, lively, and pleasant. Colour shots as opposed to black and white are also better at conveying your facial expression.
8. Don’t Use a Logo or Product
When people connect with you, they want to connect with you as an individual. Avoid using your company’s logo or a picture of a product. When they learn more about you, they’ll learn about your product or company.