5 Profile Picture Rules Every Professional Should Follow

woman taking a selfie

Online presence is key to success, and every serious professional needs to pay close attention to these five rules. Make sure you don’t neglect these.

Do you know what can instantly destroy your chances of getting a job? Your profile picture. Screening candidates is a common recruiting technique employers use to evaluate candidates hoping to get a glimpse of their personality. More specifically employers check out what candidates look like, how they interact with their friends as well as what they share and care about the most.  

Just as you would expect, the first thing they see on your profile is your profile picture. Unfortunately, this is an element that can seriously influence the likelihood of an employer clicking on your profile, spending more time on it and as a result contacting you. From this point of view, your profile picture can either add value to your profile or simply ruin it all for you.

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Considering that job search success largely depends on the kind of impression you make, your profile picture should be in top shape. Just like in real life, in the digital world, you need to appear friendly, approachable, helpful and attractive so that employers will want to meet you. So, how can you get the perfect professional picture for your social media profiles? Check out these 5 simple tips.

1. Avoid Selfies

selfie photo

Many people use selfies as profile pictures on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Even though, this is not the best approach to looking professional it’s generally considered acceptable unless you are on the job hunt. Research shows that taking selfies may be a sign of a lack of confidence which can be problematic because this is a quality employers look for in candidates. Apart from that, selfies can also show that you are self-absorbed and not much of a team player. For LinkedIn, selfies as profile pictures are a big no-no. It’s a strictly professional online platform, and chances are you will instantly get disqualified.

2. It Should Only Be You

While selfies should be avoided, you need to upload a profile picture that shows you and just you. A picture with your pet, musical instrument or paint brushes could make you look more passionate about your subject or what you do for a living, but it can also be very distracting. If you want an excellent professional profile, upload one that focuses on you. Also, avoid group photos or pictures with your significant other and children. Just keep it simple.

3. Choose the Right Background

two people in front of green background
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One way to get a great professional profile picture is to choose a bright coloured background. But, before you change your profile picture to the one you used two years ago, experiment with background colours and try to breathe new life into the photo. Rand Fishkin of Moz from Orbit Media says it’s a great way to check which colours attract the most followers. Orange, bright blue or green are all good choices.

4. Use a Pleasant Expression

For the perfect profile picture, you need to be smiling just enough so that some of your teeth are showing. You may find this funny, but it actually makes you look like a more trustworthy individual. In fact, smiling is a key component to approachability and elements such as your mouth area, height, width, gap and bottom lip curve can have a significant impact on how others will perceive you. The same goes for the eyes as these can project youthful attractiveness.

5. Wear Appropriate Clothes

The clothes you wear can have a significant impact on your profile picture. Choosing a photo of you at the beach or at a nightclub as your profile picture is job hunter suicide because no employer will take you seriously. While this doesn’t mean you need to start wearing suits and posing for the camera, you should be careful about what you choose to wear in your featured image and keep a low profile. Choose an outfit that you would usually wear to work, but make sure it’s not too casual or formal since it can make you look too relaxed or uptight. And you don’t want that.

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To maintain a strong professional presence, you have to be careful of the kind of photos you choose as your profile pictures. For employers who have never met you or seen you in real life, social media can tell them just about all they need to know including how you look and what type of person you are.

So how good you think your profile picture is after looking at these tips? Let me know in the comments section below...