August 4, 2014

What Does Your Profile Picture Say About You?

Will a Casual Profile Picture Doom Me To Mediocrity?

When I first uploaded my profile picture on LinkedIn, I had a number of friends and associates tell me, in no uncertain terms, that I should use a different one.

“Something more professional,” they said.

I’m not one to ignore advice without checking, so I looked into it further. After all, as an author I was going to need an image on a couple of websites, a few Facebook pages, G+, Pinterest, Twitter, and for articles I wrote as a guest blogger.

Social Media Best Practices

Almost every article I read on social media best practices discussed the profile picture, and I think I read them all:

• How to build a profile on LinkedIn.
• How to build a website.
• Enhancing your Facebook and G+ pages.  

After reviewing a few dozen examples and reading advice from many experts, I opted for…being me.

What Does That Mean?

It means that while I occasionally dress in a suit, and I enjoy a formal event now and then, I am most at ease dressed in casual clothes and hanging out with one of the 40–50 animals on our sanctuary. So I decided that my picture would represent that.

That’s me with Slick, the best dog I have ever seen.

Experts told me I was wrong, that I shouldn’t use such an informal picture for my professional profile. But the way I see it, is regardless of whether it’s business or not, you do business with a person. I want to like the people I do business with, and I would hope they feel the same. I’m also convinced that if someone doesn’t like my profile picture, they probably won’t like me. I’m fine with that. What I won’t do is put up a fake picture of me, dressed in a suit with my arm draped over the mantel of a fireplace. So I ignored all the advice and went with my gut.

And To My Surprise…

The feedback has been positive. I’m sure the people who don’t like it simply don’t take the time or have better manners than to say so, but the sheer number of people who have written to say, “I love your profile pic. What kind of dog is that?” Or something along those lines…has been amazing.

Bottom Line

While doing research on this, I didn’t find one article that suggested simply being yourself. I wrote this post for those of you who don’t want to put up a more formal picture. Maybe this will inspire you to “just be yourself.”

You might be surprised at the response.

If you enjoyed this post, please share.

Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes non-fiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series.

He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with 45 loving “friends.”

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