7 Tips for Creating a Powerful Profile Picture

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They say we should never judge a book by its cover, but it’s more or less unavoidable—it happens subconsciously. It's just the way we, as humans, are built. Therefore, having social media profiles with a picture that shows you in your best light is critical when a hiring manager finds you online. It becomes even more important when you consider that it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression, according to Psychology Today.

You don’t need a professional photographer to look professional in your picture, but picking the brains of pros is always a good idea. Here are seven tips for making those seven seconds count, courtesy of photographers at Fix The Photo. If you need help crafting your profile overall, take a look at the services we offer. 

1. Forget about a selfie!

It's okay to take the picture yourself with your camera phone, but lose the typical selfie characteristics, such as showing your arm holding out the camera. Instead, use a tripod or place your phone on a flat surface, set the timer, then strike a professional pose. It will look as if someone else took the photo. Just make sure to choose your background carefully and center yourself properly in the frame.

2. Get good lighting

Natural light works best and is readily available. Snap your pictures outdoors or inside near a window, but make sure the sun isn’t too bright. Taking the photos on a cloudy day or during the golden hour is optimal. You want nice, bright light that clearly shows your face while avoiding overexposure. You’ll also want to avoid directly capturing the sun in your shot.

3. Say cheese!

You'll attract more attention if you smile in your profile picture because you’ll appear friendly and approachable. While a broad smile works well for women, men are better off with a closed-mouth smile. Just make sure your smile looks natural, friendly, and inviting. A fake one can easily appear creepy, and that will drive people away even more than a neutral expression would.

4. Pick a decent camera

If you already have a digital camera or can borrow one from somebody who does, use it. If that’s not an option, your camera phone will do just fine as long as it's up to date. It's best to use the rear-facing camera rather than the front-facing one since it has a higher resolution. If your phone camera is scratched and can’t produce high-quality photos, see if you can borrow the phone of a friend or a relative for your photoshoot.

5. Use a good angle

Whether you prefer one side of your face over the other or take the picture from above your head, snap a few to see which one is the most flattering. Remember to look directly into the camera. Although your physical appearance isn’t relevant unless you’re applying for a modeling job, humans have a natural bias toward those who are more conventionally attractive.

6. Choose your attire carefully

You don't have to go shopping for pricey new clothes, but you should definitely wear something professional and neat for your profile picture. Depending on the industry you represent, that could mean a suit or a casual top. Think carefully about the impression different outfits could make on a potential recruiter and choose the one that best conveys the impression you want to leave.

7. Put the same picture on all your profiles

From LinkedIn to Twitter and Facebook, use the same picture on all your social media profiles. This consistency can greatly help a recruiter if they happen upon more than one of your profiles. It is easier to know if it's you when the picture is the same across the board, especially if you have a common name. The consistency also reflects a higher level of professionalism as you’re essentially marketing your personal brand image.

Use these tips to look professional and confident in your profile picture.  Remember that it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression, so make them count. If you want professionals to help you craft your profile, check out our services for job seekers.  

Improve Your Resume or CV