You’ve all heard the cliche before: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to your online personal brand, your avatar or profile picture is your first impression. So what does your avatar say about you?
If you don’t have any profile picture, people will wonder whether you are too lazy or hiding something. In many cases, the real reason is neither of those. Many folks are self-conscious about putting their picture online and others simply don’t have a suitable one. However, the reality is that regardless of the reason, people will be suspicious of accounts that don’t have a profile picture.
Think of your profile picture as the logo for your online personal brand. Can you imagine a company trying to market a product without a logo? It’s difficult to establish a brand without a visual identity.
A fuzzy or low quality profile picture likewise implies that you don’t care about the quality of your work. Fair or unfair, accurate or inaccurate, it’s like showing up for a job interview in a wrinkled shirt and messy hair. People will draw a dotted line between the quality of your avatar and the quality of your work.
A high quality image of you with a beer in your hand sticking your tongue out is probably not going to do you much good either. Candid shots in general are less effective than a professional quality studio head shot. The level of dress (i.e. casual vs. formal) is a choice you can make based on your own personality and your profession.
Here’s an infographic from LinkedR with their take on how various mistakes can harm your online personal brand: