Before the Internet made its way into mainstream society, you were probably less interested in personal branding. However, with about three in four online adults using social networking sites these days, someone’s first impression of you might come not through a face-to-face meeting, but through Facebook, LinkedIn or another similar site. In other words, that photo of you in jeans at a bar might be acceptable amongst your friends, but it probably won’t help if you’re trying to build a personal brand unless, perhaps, you’re trying to find more bar buddies!
When building your brand, it wouldn’t hurt to have a high quality photo of yourself available. This might help you be taken more seriously as a professional, for example, which may benefit your career.
How important could that photo you upload be?
One area it might affect your life is when you’re looking for a job. About half of employers look into job candidates on social networking sites. According to CareerBuilder, of those that do so, nearly half have not hired someone because of inappropriate or provocative photos. This shows that some are paying attention to the images candidates post, so a professional photo would probably work in your favor in such cases.
And if you aren’t in the market for a job but rather own a business, you may benefit from having a professional photo. You don’t even necessarily have to go with a traditional photo in a suit. In an article last year, The New York Times discussed two entrepreneurs who opted for less traditional photos, including one with pink balloons and another in a V-neck sweater. In other words, if your personal brand doesn’t involve a suit but you still want to upgrade from that selfie your clients currently see, for example, it should be possible to do so.
So while the quality of your photo isn’t the only aspect of your personal brand, it may impact it more than you realized. Whether you’re looking for a new job, own a business or perhaps even in other areas of your life, a professional photo may help you stand out from the crowd in a positive way.