Profile pictures are always useful for saying a thing or two about a person. Which picture is the right one to use within the workplace?
A great picture for work is determined by multiple factors ranging from your facial expression to your choice of clothing. There should also be consideration for where you will be using this work picture – whether it be public or private.
A study published in Psychological Science on facial expressions and their first impressions shows that partiality of pictures is largely determined by what the purpose of the profile photo is for. For example, a good dating profile picture is very separate from a picture for a political campaign. In the same vein, a great profile picture meant to be used within your company is going to be distinct from a Linkedin picture.
There are universal recommendations for a great professional photo. A research study from PhotoFeeler dissected the characteristics of a flawless profile picture shows that subtle differences can make a huge distinction in how people view you.
Face - When it comes to the face, every difference in the photo can make you seem more or less competent, likeable, and influential. The study suggests that all of these characteristics in picture can build a positive impression.
Squinch (a slight squint)
Direct eye contact
These characteristics can be applied to any professional profile photo, as you still want to look approachable and reliable. However, keep in mind that a workplace picture is meant for your colleagues and not necessarily for the rest of the world. There is a difference between expressing yourself through a picture for your co-workers versus prospective employers. This allows for more flexibility for personality to show, while still keeping in mind that professionalism is important.
Again, it is generally better to avoid any image that may come off as unprofessional as a guideline. A good rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t want to display it on your office desk, it might not be a good idea to set it as a workplace photo. Here are types of pictures that you might want to avoid:
Revealing social media photos
Excessively silly pictures
An obviously cropped photo
Unfortunately edited and/or over-edited images
Poor lighting within the picture
A picture of your latest vacation picture in front of the Golden Gate Bridge might not be the best image for your professional Twitter profile, but it wouldn’t be so bad to put it as your company’s messaging app picture. It might be a great icebreaker!
Remember to have fun with your profile picture!