The goal of the #60Day Challenge is to provide job and internship seekers with a step-by-step process to become highly employable in two months. Each day, a brief discussion will focus on a key element of career development – and a task that will take less than an hour to complete. Once done, you’ll be a baby step closer to your dream job or internship. On Day 2, our focus was initiating new mentor relationships. Today, we take a look at your digital first impression: your profile pic.
Your online presence, as we all know by now, is incredibly important to your career. Within that presence, nothing shouts “Here’s me… this is who I am!” like your profile pic.
The trouble is… many of those pics aren’t great. In fact, they actually hurt the personal brand rather than help.
Too dark or too overexposed (in more ways than one!). Too serious or too goofy. Not current enough… or not professional enough. To help understand what you are shooting for, let’s take a look at profile pics typical of those seen on LinkedIn:
To a potential employer, the picture on the left says: “Student; not ready for the workforce; unprofessional”. The picture on the right (kudos to Jenn Wynkoop) says: “Confident young professional; likeable and employable.”
In today’s challenge, you are going to make sure your profile picture is not only an asset to your professional brand but also an accurate reflection of your personality. And you are going to start by asking an important question to those around you who are capable of expressing an honest, objective opinion:
“What does my profile picture say about me?”
If the answer is close to what Jenn’s pic says above, congrats… your Day 3 of the #60Day Challenge is over! If not – if your pic says something other than, “I am ready to be hired!” – you need a fix; keep reading.
Consider getting professional headshots done (Groupon, Living Social and Amazon Local often have great deals with professional photographers; department store portrait studios are another inexpensive alternative). Cash at a premium? Get a friend to help, or go the selfie route. In a well-lit location, start snapping pictures on your smartphone. Try different postures and backgrounds; look both at and away from the camera. Keep shooting until you find the one pic that best demonstrates you in a professional manner. Once you’ve nailed it, consider using a photo imaging tool like Pixlr to adjust brightness and contrast and really make the image pop.
Then, upload your new avatar to every social network account… and work it!
Updating your profile pic doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. But your pic does have to be good. Damn good. Or the employer will get a bad first impression… which is too often your last chance.
Now… “say cheese!”
Click here to jump to Day 4 of the #60Day challenge!