Profile photos: what does yours say about you?

Are you branding yourself with a cartoon or anime as your profile pictures on your social media accounts? That’s not good business, even if your business is creating cartoon avatars for other people. That’s what the portfolio is for, but not for your own profile picture.

Some people head over to a cartoon creation site and turn their photos into cartoons. Or they’ll rely on the computer-generated avatar for members who haven’t bothered to upload their own photos.

That might be fine for your personal Facebook page or a general non-business blog.

But it’s not okay if you brand yourself as a professional business person, no matter what kind of business you’re in.

Profile photos are so essential to modern communication that a good one has become a basic necessity. And that couldn’t be more true than for those of us whose professional lives are tied to social media profiles.” says Ann Pierce of

Obviously, different sites require different profile photos. You might want to put a “sexy” image on a dating site, but that same image won’t work well on a Facebook, LinkedIn, or IBOToolbox business page.

And especially if you’re looking for a new job or looking to make business connections online, your photo can really make or break a first impression.

Here are some tips from contributor Stephanie St. Martin for creating photos for your social media profiles:

People are looking to connect with you right away and get a sense of your personality. You should think of your image as your “first impression” online. You want to choose a happy and memorable image of yourself.

No, we do not mean that it was taken by a professional. Use a photo that you would put on a job application, not on a dating website or Facebook profile page. You don’t want anything that is provocative, shows too much skin, or looks unprofessional. You don’t want anything you’ve carried in a car or some other strange place. Choose a photo that you would put on LinkedIn or feel comfortable giving it to your boss. Remember: you want your image to show maturity and trustworthiness.

Of course
You’d be surprised how many blurry shots we see. Or images that were clearly taken by the provider holding the camera at arm’s length (often in the car), also known as a “selfie.” Ask a friend to take a photo of you, using a camera with good resolution. Face the camera and look directly into the lens. Do not wear sunglasses or hide your face in any way. Hiding your face makes it look like you have something to hide.

Do not upload a photo of yourself with friends or family, especially for your main photo. It’s too confusing which person you are. If you love the shot, try to crop your friend, but if that’s not possible, take a new photo. If this photo is one of your additional images on your profile page, just make sure it’s clear who you are.

No pets
Animal lovers love to show off. But your main profile picture shouldn’t just be a picture of your four-legged friend. People aren’t interested in doing business with your pet, they’re looking to connect with you! Make sure you are the focus of the photo. Feel free to include photos of your pets in your secondary shots.

without photoshop
We all love photos with fun borders and creative effects. But sometimes the weird format makes it hard for others to see you.

“At the end of the day, your profile photo needs to be appropriate and professional. By having a great photo, business prospects have no reason to ‘overlook’ and will take the time to read how amazing you are. So! take the time to make a great first impression and get an impressive profile picture!”

Source: “The Perfect Profile Picture” by Ann Pierce
Source: “Is Your Profile Picture Hurting Your Job Search?” by Stephanie St. Martin, Contributor

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