First impressions matter, especially online. Living in the digital world, first impressions are often based on your profile picture. Think of it as the digital equivalent to your handshake. Your profile photo serves as your online introduction to others. This is why it’s important that you take time to choose the perfect headshot for your professional profile.
Here are some tips for choosing the right profile picture.
Choose a photo that is friendly and inviting
A warm, genuine smile will go a long way to attracting attention to your profile. Also, people will think that you’re friendly, pleasant, and approachable.
You don’t have to wear a big goofy grin. As the saying goes, “smile with your eyes.” It’s important that the image look real and authentic. Smile like you mean it!
Your clothes matter. Choose a photo that depicts you in a manner appropriate for your field. You want to wow potential employers, clients, and partners with a headshot that makes you look like a professional.
Make sure that you’re wearing appropriate professional or business casual attire. That means a dress, suit, or blazer for women and a dress shirt or a suit for men. Dressing professionally also means you are freshly shaven (unless you have a beard) or not wearing too much makeup.
You should be the only subject in the photo
The photo should be of you, and only you. Never use a group photo as your profile picture. It can be extremely confusing to people who are viewing your profile. Cropped group photos are also a no-no. Nothing is more awkward than seeing someone else’s cropped shoulder in a photo.
Close-ups are your best bet for your profile picture. Remember, this is about you. Make sure that you are front and center and the focus of the photo.
Use a recent photo of yourself
Sometimes, people are tempted to use an old picture because they look young and attractive in that photo. The last thing you want is for people to be surprised when they meet you in person because you don’t like the person in your profile picture. Select a photo that reflects how you look on a daily basis. Make sure that your profile picture is up-to-date.