Your profile photo is the first introduction to you. The wrong photo can easily convey the message that you aren’t serious or professional. You don’t want a potential employer to search for you, find your photo and say to themselves, “She doesn’t look like she’s fit into our culture.”
As this article from Neil McKenzie on the blog for Creatives and Business, LLC aptly points out, your profile picture is one of the most important visual elements for an effective social media or web presence. It creates a tone for your brand.
“It is the first thing people will see when they visit your profile or ‘About’ page,” he writes. “Many people will make an opinion of you from your picture and this will influence whether they want to connect with you on social media or spend more time on your website. Make sure that your personal image makes people want to know more about you, your art and not turn them away.”
With that in mind, here are some things to avoid in your profile photo:
- badly lit photos (overly exposed, dark, etc.)
- brands on shirts
- badly cropped images
- blurry photos
- a photo that isn’t of you
- old photos (your photo should be recent and represent how you currently look)
- photos of you and another person, especially without their permission. (You don’t want the potential employer or business associate to guess which one you are)
- bad body language (you want to come across as open and friendly, not sour and standoffish or worse desperate for attention)
If you aren’t sure what kind of message your profile photo sends, try asking a trusted friend what the photo would make them think about you. Ask that person if he would want to be friends with you based on the photo alone.
Above all else, it’s better to fail with an overly professional image on Twitter and especially LinkedIn that a party picture that is better left on your bookshelf.