7 tips to make your profile picture professional

7 tips to make your profile picture professional

In previous articles, we’ve offered tips for using social media in your job search. That’s because more and more recruiters and hiring managers areA using social networks to learnA about and even contact potential candidates.

While most know how to lock down their profiles through privacy settings on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn is a little different. The point there being that the information you’re putting on the site is critical and relevant to your job search; therefore, your picture should also be professional and relevant to your job search. Even with your career transparency on LinkedIn, for all three sites (or however many you may be using), your profile picture is the one constant that’s nearly always visible.A So let’s go through some examples of what you should andA shouldn’tA be doing in your profile picture.A [pullquote align=”right”]more and more recruiters and hiring managers are using social networks to learn about and even contact potential candidates[/pullquote] 1.A Use a head shot.A This means that it should be head and shoulders, highlighting your face. It should not be some weird photo from a party.

2.A Your photo should be flattering.A Who wouldn’t want to be portrayed in the best light? However, this doesn’t mean you should use butter on the lens to give that soft glamour-shot effect.

3.A Your face is the focus, not the background.A Again, this is a headshot. That means you posing near the Great Wall is probably not the best choice for a main picture. Is it cool? Absolutely. Professional? Not unless you’re an ancient bricklayer. Keep your face in focus too – nothing is worse than a blurry photo.

4.A Be fully clothed.A The number of people I’ve seen without clothes or who post images of others sansA clothingA is appalling. Remember, your profile is seen by everyone, so clean up your act and keep the more risqué photos for “Missed Connections.”

5.A Don’t make any funny faces.A If you are frowning or scowling, why would someone want to hire or work with you? This is equally true for those who try to use more suggestive pictures. What kind of work would an employer assume you’re interested in? So while this ties in with No. 4, I still see photos of people with clothes on who are making weird, goofy faces. A smile will work nicely, thank you.

6.A Keep your photo current.A Make sure your photo actually looks like you. Stop using a photo that you love from five-plus years ago. Again, not only is this off-putting, but if people meet you and realize you’re being deceptive, why would they trust you as an employee?

7.A Find a photographer.A Whether you pay or find a friend or student to take your photo, it’ll be better than your mirrored self-portrait with your phone or a webcam shot. Trust me, the effort in having a professional shot will be worth the trouble of setting it up.

The moral of the story is this: If your account is locked down, put up any drunken/Halloween/inappropriate photos you want in your “Shameful Moments” gallery. But keep your profile image respectable, even if you are not using it as part of your job search. Google and other search engines will pull in your profile images when recruiters or managers search your social profiles (especially Google+).