The Puzzle of the Profile Picture

Puzzled by duzern (CC BY-NC 2.0)

No matter what anyone says, we are judged by our covers; often in the first few seconds

It may come as little surprise that companies are now looking at social media profiles to determine an applicant’s suitability. Even with an account set to private, when they find your account they will see a profile picture and perhaps older photos that had been your profile picture. If you log out and search for yourself, you can see what others will; it can be quite confronting.

This knowledge is what prompted a change of my profile picture. My existing photo wasn’t something that I was embarrassed about, it was more that it didn’t have much to say. It was a photo taken at my (old) workplace, and I liked the photo, which is why I had used it. On reflection it probably isn’t a good photo, in regards to conveying a message, especially because I am looking for a change in my career. Actually my LinkedIn profile photo was worse because I didn’t have anything just the anonymous grayed out silhouette – not very professional!

I’m not a member of the so called selfie generation and usually find myself behind the camera instead of in front of it. Therefore, I actually didn’t have anything that I would consider suitable. On a personal note I don’t generally like having my photo taken, but perhaps that is because most of my experience is with one shot and you’re done cameras, over the now many shot and discard digitals that are standard. So at 8pm, I decided to do a selfie photo shoot. I was looking for a natural pose and as I am lacking the self awareness of the practised selfie I took a few tentative shots and the results were less than impressive. In the end I decided to just go wild, pulling faces and trying to make myself laugh and not looking at the results until I felt that I had acheived capturing many different expressions and lighting angles with assorted backgrounds. The result was having a plethora of photos to choose from.

Many Rob’s – Screenshot 2016

After viewing all of the possibilities the photo I selected was the one that I feel captured my personality the best. After selecting the photo, I decided that other aspects of my profile needed to be updated. If you haven’t updated your profile in over six months then it is most likely overdue. In the online environment freshness is key to keeping up to date and current.

The end result of this process is a much more serious and professional profile. Will it in turn result in people taking my opinions with a more weight? Only time will tell; but I certainly believe so.