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Your profile picture is important - make it a good one; avoid the selfies

Your profile picture is important - make it a good one; avoid the selfies

If you’re using social media for business, job hunting, or simply in a professional manner, then having a decent profile picture is important. Far too often I see strange or badly done photos. And while I’d like to say I’m immune to judging folks by their profile picture, sadly I can not. And I’m confident I’m not alone.

Professional looking profile picture can increase your audience

Humans are hard-wired to admire beauty and to imbue attractiveness with positive traits - even if they’re unwarranted. Anthropologists have observed this behavior in primates and other animals too. Countless studies have demonstrated that attractive people are afforded more perks simply because they are beautiful. Is it fair? Probably not – but it’s genetics, so fighting it is difficult.

Which brings me back to the importance of your profile picture. If you’re infinitely talented and super qualified and worth liking or following - a bad profile picture may prevent this. Poor lighting, low-resolution, silly or obnoxious poses, or the absence of a photo may cause viewers to simply skip over your listing simply due to a beauty bias.

When I’m skimming Twitter or LinkedIn or other networks to discover people to follow or connect with - I’ll admit I might make a snap judgement based on the quality of a profile picture or the attractiveness of the subject. It’s not my only factor; I do read profiles, and look at postings. But if I’m on the fence, a good profile picture will tip the balance in your favor. Conversely, a poor quality profile picture instantly lowers my opinion of the subject.

Do you need a professional photograph?

No, you don’t need to hire a professional, though if you can it won’t hurt. But you should think more carefully about your profile picture. It’s probably seen by thousands everyday, and with each view someone is making a snap judgement about you based only on that picture. So it’s worth putting in a little effort to make sure it looks good. In business, you probably wouldn’t roll out of bed, throw on sweats, and go to meet someone for the first time or to give a presentation. So take the time to make sure your profile picture makes a good first impression too.

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Oct 13, 2015
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