Have you ever searched for a prospect, business partner or potential employee online? Maybe you have found your lawyer, doctor or investment banker on a social media site via common friends? Have you ever been unpleasantly surprised by how unprofessional their profile picture was?
What usually happens is that we choose a picture:
- thinking about what we like instead of considering our target group
- that we have at hand instead of making an effort to look for a better one or take a better one
Now the skeptics will say, “I don’t look at the photos. I am not influenced by it.” Your subconsciousness is influenced positively or negatively whether you like it or not. And even if you belong to the rare exception of people that are indeed not effected – the vast majority is.
…that is how long a person needs to unconsciously form an opinion about you. On the Internet, the first thing they see is your picture. Many people do not even have a profile picture! The probability of anyone reading a “picture-less” profile is very low. Unfortunately, even if we have a picture on our business networking site such as LinkedIn.com or Xing.com, only about 5% of those would be classified as “OK” or “Good”. 75% of all added pictures fall under one of the following categories:
- An ID photo
- That’s not me
- Picture from a trip
- Flirty eyes
- Bad quality
- Cut out from a party
- Find me!
- I took it myself
Click here to see examples.
Make sure that:
- you are in your professional context (dress the way you would dress when going to an interview or meeting with an important prospect client)
- the background is not dark and not distracting
- you look into the camera
- it’s OK to smile :)
Remember: an online profile picture is different from a regular portrait. There is only a little space available to portray and communicate your professionalism, as well as gaining the viewer’s trust.
Last but not least: you do not have to book an expensive photographer. With today’s quality of smartphones and the right light, you’ll be able to do little wonders at home. Just no selfies. Please.
Not sure what your profile picture or the entire profile communicate? Feel free to request a complimentary LinkedIn Report, with feedback on all your sections systematically. Just send an email to Bichl.Sandra@CareerAngels.eu (Subject: LI Report) and add the link to your profile.