Using social media, especially professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, gives professionals the ability to showcase their experience, achievements, goals, and expertise and make these visible to potential employers. Additionally, these sites encourage members to connect with other professionals and engage in discussions that allow for new perspectives and broaden career opportunities.
While your career history may boast many accomplishments, your profile picture holds massive influence on other people’s perception of you.
What Does Your Profile Picture Say About You?
We live in a visual society. It is a fact that people base their first impression of you on your profile picture. Therefore, it is imperative to consider how you present yourself through your profile picture.
Ask yourself these questions when choosing a picture to use on any social media site:
Do you have a profile picture?
Consider this: What would you think if you saw a profile that lacks a picture?
When a social media picture is missing, viewers typically jump to the conclusion that the person either a) has something to hide or b) does not take professional networking seriously.
While you may think that this sort of rash judgment is not fair, it is a fact of the society in which we live. Therefore, be sure to post a professional profile picture along with your career history and accomplishments.
Does your profile picture elicit a professional first impression?
Think of professional networking social media sites the same as you would an in-person networking event. Would you attend those events in your swimsuit or gym clothes? My guess would be a resounding “No.”
Treat your profile photo no differently. Make sure your hair, attire, background, and location all give the impression of the utmost professionalism. Ensure your profile picture reflects how you would present yourself in a workplace setting.
Would you show this to your boss?
Be aware that 70% of employers use social media sites to screen candidates before making critical hiring decisions. This means you must be prudent about what you post on your online profiles.
Does this mean you must exclude your hobbies or unique interests on your professional networking sites? No. Your hobbies and interests can boost your profile and provide a little window into your personality, but these things have their place. Avoid giving potential employers a reason to eliminate against you.
Including work-place appropriate pictures of your hobbies or travels creates talking points that build connections with others and showcase that you are a well-rounded person. Therefore, include your hobbies and interests in a designated spot on your page, but avoid making them the focal point of your entire profile.