Most of us can remember back to the days of well thought-out and pre-planned MySpace profile pictures (even if we don’t want to). However, as we enter an age where we are forced to transform our once creative and self-reflecting profiles into cautionary depictions of our personal lives, how do we know what an appropriate profile picture really is?
No longer are we posting pictures to achieve the maximum number of ‘likes’ we are posting pictures that make us look like the responsible, hardworking, and determined young people that we are…75% of the time. According to Business Insider, there are 8 simple rules every professional should follow when choosing a profile picture:
- Always use a photo…thank you for that brilliant piece of advice Business Insider
- Use a recent photo of yourself…does my #tbt from last week count?
- You should be the only subject in the photo…but what about my new puppy?
- Your face should be in focus…well that’s unfortunate for my eyebrows.
- Wear appropriate professional or business casual attire…or your favorite baseball T.
- Keep your head straight and upright…what is this, senior glamour shots?
- Use a pleasant facial expression…so not my resting bi**h…(you know where I’m going with this).
- Don’t use your company’s product or logo as a photo…no worries, I’m unemployed.
If you couldn’t already tell, I’m less than pleased with Business Insider’s menial advice. While all of their tips seem and obvious and true, I question whether I actually want to work for a company who cares if my profile picture fits this criteria. Of course I want a job after graduation and I want to give off the right message about who I am, but at what point does it sacrifice my personality entirely? Their tips yield us to strip the profiles we have spent years building, and enter the next 40 or so years of our lives pretending that the last 20 never happened.
I still have a solid three months left of college. Three months that I admittedly, am going to do all of the things that I may not have time for after graduation. I am going to go out and have a good time with my friends, and I am going to document my experience. So what if my profile picture is of me hugging my two best friends, wearing yoga pants, with my hair in a messy bun? I find it hard to believe that my lack of business casual attire would jeopardize a future job opportunity.
All I’m saying is that if I want to display myself like the responsible, hardworking, and determined young person I am, 75% of the time, I don’t think I should be forced to hide who I am the other 25% of the time, as long as these pictures remain within the realm of appropriateness.
Below are four images, two profile pictures, and two non-profile pictures that could be found elsewhere on your page.
The photo on the left is my LinkedIn profile picture, and the photo on the right is what came up when I searched “professional profile photos” on Google. Sure, my picture doesn’t follow all 8 rules laid out by Business Insider, but I’ve got dozens of contacts on LinkedIn and work at UPMC, which has a reputation for upholding their values and appearance to the outside world, and I achieved all of this without the staged, awkward, and try-hard efforts of the photo on the right. Proof that you can BE YOURSELF. I’ve just decided I’m making that rule number 9.
The photo on the left is my current Facebook cover photo, and the photo on the right is what I imagine someone at Business Insider would choose as his or her Facebook cover photo. My point here is that I like cats, I particularly like cats wearing booties, because, why not? I shouldn’t have to pretend to not like things that are funny or cute, or refrain from posting them, just because it doesn’t scream professional. Hence, rule number 9.
So yes, you should use your best judgment and not choose a profile picture of you raging on spring break; however, don’t go through your profiles and delete every picture where you aren’t wearing business casual and demurely posing against a tree. In the end, I think all of us would be a lot happier to have a boss or work for a company that lets us be ourselves, than constantly pretending to be the inaccurate depiction of ourselves we displayed on Facebook.
Written By: Sarah Cinski
Business Insider Rules: http://www.businessinsider.com/rules-for-your-profile-picture-2013-11
Example profile picture: http://nextimpression.net/blog/2013/10/24/top-5-tips-for-a-professional-profile-picture
Example cover photo: http://redarrowmedia.com/sitemap.xml