Profile pictures are everywhere on the internet.  These are pictures that give you a personal side.   I know that there is an argument that bigger brands use their logo on Twitter, but I’m thinking of those sites that are about you – Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.

What does your picture say about you?  I was teaching on a Face to Face LinkedIn workshop recently.  We were discussing how keywords worked and I arbitrarily did a keyword search for Business Development Manager – or something similar.  LinkedIn returned a list of people – one of whom was a senior manager in a large corporate company.  The reaction in the room was amazing – “I wouldn’t do business with him” was the over-riding feeling.  This was based solely on the picture of the person.

There was nothing essentially wrong with the profile picture – it wasn’t a picture of his dog, which I have seen.  It wasn’t a picture of him half-dressed, which I’ve also seen.  It was however, clearly a holiday snap – it looked like a zoomed in picture of the person in front of some buildings .  He was informally dressed and the picture did not shout ‘professional person’.

This really brought it home to me how important it is to have a professional profile picture.  In my opinion, the picture should

  • Be clear and easy to recognise the individual.  Don’t hide behind a desk.
  • Be professionally taken – not a zoomed in holiday snap.
  • Your appearance in the photo should reflect who you are.  If you ‘suit and boot’ at client meetings, then ‘suit and boot’ in your picture.
  • Larger brands may want to brand the picture by including the logo
  • Make you look approachable and friendly (assuming you are!).  A passport style photo probably does not give the right impression.
  • Be consistent – use the same photo everywhere so it becomes part of your brand.
I would love to know what you think.  Please share good and bad examples (without naming individuals please!).