1-2-3 Guide to a Winning Profile Photo


What does your profile photo say about you and why does it matter?  If you are looking for a job, the profile photo you display to the world is paramount.  The photo is the first thing a recruiter or potential employer will see.  If they don’t like what they see, they will keep scrolling to the next prospect.  Every job seeker website has a multitude of candidates listed.  You are competing for attention and your profile photo is the first round of the battle.

The best profiles will garner the most CV/Resume views.  This all leads to interviews and getting hired.  Faulty photos can remove you from consideration, before you ever were really considered.  How do you stand out from the crowd and win the fight?  What can you do to make your profile tell a compelling story?

Photo selection is not rocket science, but it is science.  Follow this easy 1-2-3 guide to make sure you’re giving your profile the best chance to be seen.  The best photos are will garner the most profile views.


Step One:  The Clothing Matters


If you’re looking for work, don’t dress like you’re off the clock.  Make sure the clothing is something suitable for what you would wear at work.  More specifically, make sure you’re wearing clothing that would be appropriate for the job you hope to land.  Do not dress in clothes for the beach or a night out on the town, if you’re looking for an office job.   A person looking for professional work should have a buttoned down look.

Some industries like banking, legal, medical and others have a more conservative nature and the attire should match.  Dress like your colleagues would dress and you will win more profile views.  Far too many candidates lose on this singular point, and it’s why I’ve listed it first.  Clothing tells the story of your professional conduct and your ability to discern what is and is not appropriate.  Do you look like you can do the job?  If you were looking at your photo, does it look like you should be doing the job you are applying for?

When in doubt, choose the photo that leans on the side of being more professional.  Wearing a tie and a jacket for men might not be needed.  If you work in industries where they are common place however, you should have them on in your photo.  Now is not the time to rebel, now is the time to look the part.


Step Two: It’s all About that Face


To smile or not to smile, that is the question.  Actually the smile isn’t the most important thing.  I would say the most important thing is the scowl or the frown.  Frowning is frowned upon.  You are looking for a job, not trying to show you’re sophisticated or socially awkward.  There are some instances where not smiling works better than smiling.  For example if you are going out for a security or law enforcement position, a smile isn’t always the best choice.

Your facial expression is saying almost as much about you as your clothing selection.  A warm smile communicates a lot about your personality.  Are you easy to work with?  Do you take yourself too seriously?  Are you easily stressed out?  Are you fun to be around or someone people make fun of behind their back?  Make sure you are conveying the right message and giving yourself a shot to win, by not being overly aggressive, negative or goofy in your profile picture.


Step Three:  Space the Final Frontier


Don’t step in my bubble.  Personal space is important.  Far too many job seekers have a close up photo that breaks this simple but important boundary.  Make sure you leave a bit of space all around the photo, so your hair isn’t touching any of the outer edges.  Ideally you want to appear to be somewhere between 4-6 feet away.

Being too close can come off as aggressive or needy, depending on your facial expression.  Being too far away implies you have something to hide or you are being aloof.  Pay attention to the distance, it really is what sets a good photo apart from being a great photo.


That’s a Wrap!


Notice I didn’t address the selfie?  Selfies are not an issue, if you follow the three steps above.  You can use a professional photo, or take your own picture.  You want to wear the right clothes, put on the right face and keep proper distance.  Winning the profile photo battle helps you get to the next round.  Are the employers and recruiters looking at your profile or passing you by?

Sites like LinkedIn help you answer that question, as you can monitor your profile views per week.  Monitor your results.  If you’re not being seen very much, try changing up your photo.  The photo is the gateway to success.  If you are not getting out of the starting block, your photo is the likely source.

I am here to help.  Have a question or want to have me access your photo?  Leave me a message in the comments.