What Makes for a Good Profile Picture

Social media today, is a crucial part of the world of work. It would not be far-fetched to stress on the inter-dependency of these two realms. It is true that a potential employer can decide whether or not to give you a chance for that much awaited interview simply by going through your social media profiles. Also, as a candidate, one would be extremely naive to think that potential employers don’t do a background check, of which your social media profiles play a big, big role.

When we speak about social media profiles, what is the first thing that stands out? Your profile picture. Your profile picture speaks volumes about you on social media. Why? Because that little image is what you chose out of the several, hundreds of photographs you may have of yourself, as your identity on the given platform. A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Therefore, it is true that your profile picture is the very first impression you cast on your employer.

So what makes for a good profile picture? Here are a few things that will help you.

  1. The resolution of the photograph

    The first, most basic requirement for a good photograph is that it should be clear and visible. Not grainy and pixelated. Ensure that the photograph you choose to use has your face visible in it. Ensure that the photograph has been taken in proper light, and is not a cropped out version of another photograph. Cropping a photograph renders it grainy and pixelated, in most cases. The idea behind a profile picture is that the person looking at it should know how you look, and not have to imagine a ‘version’ of you based on what is visible in the picture. The first most important quality of a good profile picture is that it should be high-resolution, or at least clear.

  2. You in the photograph

    The second most important thing about a good profile picture – how you come across in the picture, or what you seem to be doing. It’s very difficult to get this wrong, but strangely enough there are examples we have seen which compel us to include this pointer as a part of the post. Remember that regardless of which social media platform you are choosing a profile picture for, they are all fodder for recruiters or potential recruiters. Which means, irrespective of whether or not the said social media platform is a ‘professional’ one, it is highly recommended that you choose a professionally appealing photograph. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be a corporate head shot, take care that it isn’t at least a photograph of you playing beer pong.

  3. A selfie never works

    Yes, no matter how good it is. A selfie comes across as unprofessional. Let’s not be lazy and get a decent photograph!

  4. It needs to be a recent photograph

    It is probably not a good idea to have a photograph from years ago as your profile picture, in which you look absolutely nothing like you do presently. If in doubt, show the photograph to colleagues or friends. You know that it won’t work if you get a response akin to “no way, that can’t be you!” The whole point of having a profile picture is to be visible, be found. So make sure you look like who you look like, for real!

  5. Not inappropriate and not boring

    Now that is a real challenge. While you certainly don’t want to have a party picture on, you also don’t want to appear boring. It is a good idea to try and find a photograph which reflects your field of work in some way. Once again, if you are unsure about whether or not the chosen photograph would work, run it by a trusted friend or colleague.

    Ending this post with a re-affirmation of why it matters so much to invest time in choosing the right profile picture.

Employers spend an average of 6 seconds looking at a LinkedIn profile and 19% of that time is spent looking at the user’s profile picture. Research suggests that it only takes 1/10 of a second for someone to form an impression about you. So make sure it’s a good one! Source.

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