If a picture is worth 1000 words, then what does a poorly lit, slightly blurry, badly cropped, taken with a camera phone image say about a networker? I think that in most cases it probably says, “I am new to social networking and am just trying to figure this out. It was the only one I had, and I was trying to build my profile while keeping the kids from shaving the cat with my husband’s electric razor” But I am an optimist and willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt. There is another side of me too, a much darker and somewhat pessimistic side

Harley The Cat

This side, the side that is also a photographer, looks at the flash burn on the ‘Executive Recruiter’ and reads, “Hey, My name is Boutros Broutros Ghali, and now that I am no longer the UN Secretary General, I am giving recruiting a try. I lack attention to detail. I won’t try very hard on your behalf. And I am bitter about being the only Secretary General to serve one term. I hate cats!” This may not be an accurate assessment of the person, but if I am looking at a terrible picture, this may be the conclusion I reach. I am not at all likely to want to connect with someone who hates cats.

We have been told not to 'judge a book by it's cover', but who among us follows that advice? I mean really, If the book has a picture of a ceiling fan and is entitled, "Cutting Edge Interior Design", would we really want it to help us in our quest to Fung Shui up our pad? I think NOT! (Note: I don't know that Fung Shui can be used as a verb, but I am a rebel.)

Ecocandle In Second Life

I believe that many people form 1st impressions based upon appearances. Whether this is right or wrong, it seems to be the case. So when I made my living as a builder in the virtual world of Second Life, I used a picture of my avatar, Ecocandle Riel. Now that I am working for a company which has an online recruiting tool, I use a picture of myself. But not just any picture. I took one that has a neutral background. I didn’t want to use the one of me smiling and having fun, in a bar, with my drunken belligerent friend’s arm draped over my shoulder. Though I admit that I do like that photo, it isn’t the message I want to send.

I have noticed that when I am reading a person’s profile, I can’t help but look at the thumbnails of their connections. There are 3 types of images that get my attention, clever icons used in lieu of a personal photo, professional photos, and hideously taken photos. Though I prefer to use a personal image, I think that clever icons are just as powerful at attracting attention. If you don't have a professional image, then try to take one that looks like some thought was put into it.

Some tips:

1) Look at the background, it should be clutter free. If the image is taken outside, use a shallow depth of field, so the background is out of focus. This will make you stand out..
2) Crop the image so that it is a tight head shot.
3) Try to take it with natural light, but avoid harsh sunlight.
4) If the sun is behind you, have the camera on flash, this fills in the shadow on your face.

Whatever the image you choose, make sure it is sending the message that you intend, and that it doesn’t make people think you hate cats.

Views: 91

Comment by Brian Meeks on November 25, 2009 at 2:33pm
Thanks to both Rayanne and KarenM for taking the time to read my little blog post. You both have very nice pictures! Good tight cropping. Rayanne has a lovely smile. Karen has a wonderful pensive pose.

Today I found a spectacular avatar. http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profile/BradSmith
I hope he doesn't mind me using him as an example. :-)

It is so good that I think I am going to rethink my picture. I still like the photo, but I think I may add some more negative space, and possibly do like he did with the gradient at the bottom.
Comment by Mark A. Leon on November 25, 2009 at 5:07pm
A true eye for professionalism and etiquette. If you have not, please look at www.jpgmag.com. It is a community site of photographers who share critique and praise in a very open and collaborative setting.
Comment by Brian Meeks on December 2, 2009 at 2:16pm

All of the images I use are my own, and thus I hold the copyright. I have been selling my images for a couple of years, but never seen them in use. So I decided to use some of my own stock images, if for no other reason, because it gives me joy.


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