As an executive coach and writer, I help people tell their own professional stories and present themselves in the best light.
Among other ways of interacting nowadays, social media is one of the key places we tell our stories. In the professional context, for many of us, a hub of such interactions is LinkedIn, and a personal photo serves as the centerpiece of any well-crafted LinkedIn profile.
Yet many of us give surprisingly little thought to our photos beyond whether they make us “look good.” Hair OK? Check. Don’t look old or fat? Check. What little thought goes into the analysis – as I often find with friends or clients who ask me to review their photos – is not about expressing a personal brand but rather simply not embarrassing ourselves.
I speak from the heart on this one. Before attending law school (and completing a 15-year career as an attorney that led to executive coaching), I was an art and photography major, and I worked in several art-related settings, putting up “new masters” on the walls of museums, galleries and other locations. The idea of using your profile picture (or any other image) as a means of communication is in my blood.
I want to impart that knowledge to you, and I would like to do it in stages. Knowing that the best way to teach is to show, rather than start with my analysis of the images in this post, I will let them sit with you for a while. Draw your own conclusions, and feel free to post in the comments about what stories you believe these images tell and whether they appeal to you. Here are some ideas to get you started.
What impression do you have of the person in each of Images 1, 2 and 3?
Would you want to connect with him or her on a professional or personal level?
Does the cropping of the image change how the story is told?
If you saw this image, as a viewer, what recommendations would you make to improve it?
I will check back in next week with more thoughts. Thanks!
Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond.
Image credits above (other than of me): Adobe Images.