Profile picture – choose carefully

When you look at some of the profile pictures on Linkedin you can often be amazed at what some people put out there considering the professional nature of Linkedin and its position as the premier networking/recruitment site. The same of course applies to all the major social media platforms.
Sometimes there actually isn’t a picture of the person, just a blank avatar, a pet or inanimate object or it’s the person wearing too few clothes or maybe surrounded by empty bottles.
Given that recent data shows that upwards of 91% of employers look at Social Media when appraising candidates for new positions it becomes imperative that if you are at all interested in ever engaging in the job market that you have to have a suitable profile picture on Linkedin and all other platforms. First impressions unfortunately do count. We all make instantaneous decisions when we see pictures of people and recruiters are no exception. Face perception is well developed in humans and people make judgements about the trustworthiness, aggressiveness and ability to lead, etc, of a person. Recent studies show that these perceptions are in many cases correct although very slight changes to a persons expression can change that perception.
So just ask yourself when looking at your profile picture; if I was a potential employer would I hire me?
So what do you need to put out there as your profile picture in order to demonstrate leadership or capability; what are the rules you should follow?

A professional headshot is probably the most suitable but ensure that it isn’t just a bland one staring at the camera. Try to add a bit of spark. Make sure your head is front and centre and don’t let the background overwhelm your headshot.
Make sure that the picture was taken relatively recently as you don’t want to shock the recruiter when you do meet.
Ensure your hair is neat and tidy.
Selfies should not be used as the picture quality is never good enough.
You should dress appropriately for the job you are seeking and not the one you currently have.
Can you airbrush your picture? A small amount is probably allowable but do not overdo it.
Remember the instant perception of you that a Recruiter will get so pay special attention to the profile picture that you put out there for the world to see.

Steve Blythe (Recruitment and Social Media Commentator).


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