Tips on Choosing a Perfect Profile Picture

If you're nervous about selecting a good profile picture, you've come to the right place.

We all know by now that in today’s world, there’s nothing that can’t be found on the internet. Your boss, your boyfriend’s parents, even your professors are all becoming increasingly tech-savvy, and with this newfound savviness comes the danger that they will dig up something incriminating.

The first thing to do is change your privacy settings on whatever social networking site you frequent, but what about that tricky profile picture? You want your friends to be able to find you easily (especially if you have a common name), but you don’t want your profile picture to give off the wrong impression. How should you select a profile picture? (Note: these are not hard and fast rules, but should help you narrow down your profile picture options until you find the right one.)

  1. Nix the alcohol. This should go without saying, really, because almost any organization you’re a part of (sororities, athletic teams, jobs) doesn’t want to be advertised this way. Many sororities are even more careful, requesting that their members not be tagged in any photo with alcohol. While you’re at it, make sure you’re not smoking or partaking of any other behavior which some might consider questionable.
  2. Headshots are iffy. Unless you are an actor, or a writer, or some other sort of artist, it comes off as pretentious. And even if you are an artist, it can still come off as pretentious.
  3. Senior portraits are a no-go.  unless you’re actually a senior. It’s an unfortunate fact that our faces change as we get older. Sometimes we gain weight, and sometimes we get, well, less good-looking. Even if this isn’t the case for you, people who can see your age and tell that a picture is out of date will automatically assume you’re trying to hide something.
  4. Please, no group shots. Your profile picture should be about you. This is another example of profile pictures coming off as misleading or having something to hide. Guys joke about girls who use profile pictures of themselves with their best-looking friends in order to ‘deceive’ guys, but even if that’s not your intent, it still leads to confusion on the part of the viewer. Also, if you have a name that could be both a guy and girl name, please save us some trouble and don’t befuddle us with a picture of a mixed-gender group.

Now you know what not to do, but you probably still have plenty of pictures left from which to choose. Simply stated, candid shots are your best bet. Look for something with a natural smile and relaxed body language. You’ll come off as fun and unpretentious, and that’s sure to impress a boss, recruitment advisor, or future mother-in-law.

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Sourav RC
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Posted on Oct 26, 2010