A picture is worth a thousand words, right? These days, we’re bombarded with thousand-word choices, now that your phone is your camera. Snap, snap, snap – any second of the day, be it a selfie with a friend in front of a waterfall, a quotable slogan on a highway billboard, or the snow-topped Rockies in mid-flight. Wherever you go, there’s a picture to be had, each one easy to snap, and even easier to delete. There’s no end to trial and error where the thousand words’ worth is concerned. All professionals have gone digital as well, producing hundreds of images in a photo session without batting an eye. And then, it’s up to you to choose which ones to buy.
So when it comes to creating an online professional profile, you also have to make a clear choice among all of your photos. Whether you hire a professional photographer, get a friend to snap a few shots, use a selfie stick, or any combination thereof, there are still a few rules of thumb (or as the case may be, thumbnails!) to follow.
Here are some guidelines on how to choose the best images for your online professional profile:
You will want three types of images represented of yourself, as follows:
- Dressed professionally in a suit, as if ready for a face-to-face interview (1 photo).
- Dressed professionally in work garb. For example, a nurse will don a nurse’s uniform; a gardener, outdoor gear; a content writer who works from home – pajamas (Just kidding on that last one! You get the idea.) (1-5 photos).
- Off-hours. Be it with family, or at a hobby, or both. Think conversation piece, choosing images that can pique the interest of your interviewer (1-4 photos).
When shooting photos, act as you would in reality. Most photo viewers can sense if the image is just an image, and isn’t the real you. Remember, your goal is to get to the live interview stage, at which point the true you will be more apparent anyway. By representing who you really are from the beginning, you will exude trustworthiness. That having been said, the notion of “fake it ‘til you make it” or “act as if” still applies. Feel free to put yourself in the role of getting the job, as long as you are being true to yourself that you want to strive for it. Tip: Don’t go all Instagram – use normal photo display mode, without effects. It’s part of being real.
Whether your photos are shot by laypeople or professionals, choose the best ones. This might be a “duh” guideline, but we emphasize it especially because your images are going to be viewed even before employers read your resume. Therefore, you want to look sleek, prepared, and show that you dedicated time to apply for the job. In this way, your images’ thousand words can make or break getting an employer to read your resume.
Looking for work is a job unto itself. With that in mind, do invest in your professional profile images to the fullest extent. Using the above guidelines, you can put together choice images to represent yourself when applying for a job, hopefully making it easier for a potential employer to infer thousands of positive words about you before even meeting you.