Step Away From the Selfie Stick

It’s been proven that applicants who have a picture associated with their profiles get more views. Many people (and recruiters) think that a profile without an image is suspect.

Think of your profile picture as one that you’d like to have on an employee badge someday. It should be professional, yet still show a little personality. But, not you in your favorite Hawaiian shirt!

That said, here are a few tips for selecting that perfect image to show you at your best:

  • If possible, have a professional photographer take your picture. Of you. Only. Smile and look relaxed - think beyond your driver’s license.
  • Do not take a selfie! No matter if you use a selfie stick, or try the traditional arm extended shot, it’s obvious that your shoulder and arm don’t look natural. This is not Facebook.
  • And, don’t use something from a non-professional setting, unless it relates to your profession: if you are a scuba instructor, a picture of you in your gear might make sense. If you are not, don’t use it!
  • If you are a graphic designer, you may be tempted to break this rule. Bear in mind that most sites on which you would post a profile (especially for designers) give you places to upload your work. You want people to see the person who’ll arrive for the in-person interview on your profile.
  • Don’t crop another picture. If you are photographed with other people, it’s close to impossible to effectively crop out someone else’s arm around you, or hair draped on your shoulder. Unless your image editing skills are top-notch, the picture will also be the wrong size, or will end up less than crisp.
  • Don’t use a picture with obvious mistakes such as red eye or something that looks grainy (see bullet point #1).
  • Wear attire that is appropriate for your profession. Even though some TV personalities think it’s okay to wear spaghetti straps on the air, you should refrain from plunging necklines, bare shoulders, or tank tops for both genders! If you wouldn’t wear it to work in a professional setting, don’t be photographed in it.

Your photo is an important part of your professional brand. Shouldn’t it represent you well?

Kimberley Sirk is a North Carolina-based writer and editor with government, higher education and big-brand healthcare public relations and marketing experience.

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