Profile pictures are a great way to introduce yourself to someone you haven’t met in person; but depending on the context, the wrong profile picture can damage your personal – and professional – brand. I’ve put together a quick litmus test to help you determine if it’s time to update (or upgrade) your profile picture.
Keep in mind that as a business owner, employee, or professional, your picture needs to represent you in the best light possible. Think about it from the perspective of a potential client or business partner: people want to work with someone who looks friendly, put together, and appropriately dressed for their line of work. Furthermore, no one likes surprises!
1. Does your profile picture look like you?
I know it sounds obvious, but we tend to hold on to “the glory days” a little too long. And let’s be honest; sometimes we didn’t look that great in the glory days anyway. It’s also completely offputting when you meet someone and they look nothing like their picture. All possibilities of a positive first impression are lost as the difference between the person and the profile picture is processed.
2. Does your profile picture communicate professionalism in your field?
You don’t have to look like a corporate superstar (unless you are), but you should look the best you possibly could while still being appropriately dressed for what you do. If you’re in the professional services do you look well groomed, put together, competent, and approachable? Or maybe you’re in the trades – an electrician – do you look clean, and trustworthy?
3. Are your clothes distracting?
Were you caught off guard for your last photo shoot… maybe you were wearing that awful floral blouse, or an orange tie with a pink shirt (that’s a whole other conversation). Or maybe you’d just lost or gained a bunch of weight and were in that awkward – on your way up / down, will buy clothes in a few months – stage. Whatever the case, you’re not doing yourself any favors if the clothes are doing the talking for you.
4. Have you changed jobs?
Whether you’ve switched positions, companies, or industries, it’s time to evaluate whether your profile picture still communicates what it needs to. Also, be sure to look back at the paperwork you – or you previous employer – signed when your previous photo was taken… you may not have permission to use the image once you leave the organization.
5. Does your current profile picture present your brand in a good light?
It’s easy to fall into the “traditional” profile picture rut… professional social media websites are full of conservatively dressed professionals in front of a standard background. That look is appropriate for many. But maybe you have an up and coming design or tech company and you want to project an image that’s a little more cutting edge. Or maybe you’re an arborist and the corporate look just doesn’t fit. Branding is as important in your profile image as it is to your marketing department. Make sure it’s consistent.
At the end of the day, your profile picture is about personal branding. Does your current picture reperesent you in an attractive, authentic light? If so, you’re probably good to go.