Profile pictures are everywhere on the internet. These are pictures that give you a personal side. I know that there is an argument that bigger brands use their logo on Twitter, but I’m thinking of those sites that are about you – Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
What does your picture say about you? I was teaching on a Face to Face LinkedIn workshop recently. We were discussing how keywords worked and I arbitrarily did a keyword search for Business Development Manager – or something similar. LinkedIn returned a list of people – one of whom was a senior manager in a large corporate company. The reaction in the room was amazing – “I wouldn’t do business with him” was the over-riding feeling. This was based solely on the picture of the person.
There was nothing essentially wrong with the profile picture – it wasn’t a picture of his dog, which I have seen. It wasn’t a picture of him half-dressed, which I’ve also seen. It was however, clearly a holiday snap – it looked like a zoomed in picture of the person in front of some buildings . He was informally dressed and the picture did not shout ‘professional person’.
This really brought it home to me how important it is to have a professional profile picture. In my opinion, the picture should
- Be clear and easy to recognise the individual. Don’t hide behind a desk.
- Be professionally taken – not a zoomed in holiday snap.
- Your appearance in the photo should reflect who you are. If you ‘suit and boot’ at client meetings, then ‘suit and boot’ in your picture.
- Larger brands may want to brand the picture by including the logo
- Make you look approachable and friendly (assuming you are!). A passport style photo probably does not give the right impression.
- Be consistent – use the same photo everywhere so it becomes part of your brand.