If you are a person who utilizes sites such as Linkedin or other professional/business sites, invest in a proper, professional photo. When you chose a picture, make sure it’s a good, quality photo. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and your hair and makeup (if applicable) are neat and conservative. A business photo demonstrates a level of success and professionalism.
A “selfie” is not a way to demonstrate your success level and it is definitely not the way to go. I am amazed at how many people use pictures that they have taken themselves or shots of them partying. A “Glamour Shot” is also not appropriate in most business situations. Business sites are not the place to demonstrate how provocative you may be or how much fun you are socially. Business profile photos should demonstrate a level of professionalism so that potential prospects may look at you seriously.
Personally, I don’t want to see a profile picture of my financial advisor or accountant on the back of a fishing boat holding a beer. I don’t want to see a business associate in a fedora with dark sunglasses, smoking a cigar in their profile picture. I don’t want to see anyone I do business with looking sexy or provocative in a setting that is supposed to be professional. It makes me nervous. Exposing ones private life in a business relationship is risky and I am not sure I am looking for “risky” to handle my money or investments and I am not alone.
The simple fact of the matter is that we judge and we judge harshly. No one wants to admit it, but we do. We look for things that tell us this person cannot be trusted or there is something wrong. We look for signs that tell us we should be careful or proceed with caution. There is an old saying “If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck … it’s a duck.” Unfortunately, this saying is accurate regularly. No one wants to be made a fool of. A profile picture is the first introduction to a person.
Moral of the story: If you are a businessperson with a professional clientele, invest in a quality suit, a good haircut, some conservative jewelry, and a professional photo. Consider it an investment in your image.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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