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“There are no bad pictures; that’s just how your face looks sometimes.” – Abraham Lincoln

 My Thoughts On The Corporate Profile Photo.

Joining a new business means lots of things but one of those things definitely throws me into a panic and that is the New Corporate Profile Picture.

It did need updating. My previous one was from a couple of years ago, so admittedly when it was taken I’d probably had more hair and less bags under my eyes than as it stands today. Unlike my new photo it wasn’t a “business classic” (more on that later) but it represented me in that I looked like I was being myself and enjoying my work environment. It was uncontroversial, but not really up to date.

I’ve gone through a few pictures, I just don’t feel photogenic. At one point I plumped (not a bad word) for a professional photographer to take a few. They were OK, but my head looked massive. If I’d gone to a “£10 per head buffet” they might have charged me double. It also looked a bit contrived. Natural definitely nails it for me.  With most pictures of myself I look (at best) like I am on my way to court and at worst – like I have come for some overdue rent.

I’ve seen some hideous business portrait pictures in my time and not all of them have been my own.  Many years ago I knew of a recruitment office that kept the very “best” CV pictures on a hidden noticeboard, a sort of gruesome rogue’s gallery  – it’s for this reason that I tell people that a picture on a CV is probably not a great idea. If you are lucky enough to be beautiful you will get ogled at (by both sexes); if not, then probably derided – don’t shoot me for telling the truth about human nature.

LinkedIn has a variety of different types of photographs, some of them downright weird. There is a miasma of styles that include a genre I have nicknamed:

“The Time Honoured Business Classics”

  1. On the telephone – hey, I’m busy doing business, I’m a busy business person.
  2. Prospective Tory MP – best suit on, grinning directly at the camera: “Trust me, I’m from Head Office”.
  3. Sporty – Look at me, I can Ski/Sail/Cycle/Crossfit
  4. Pouty – How can you resist doing business with moi?

I’m not going to criticise anyone’s picture on LinkedIn, who am I to talk? I’ve even got a “sporty” on my old website complete with “race number bib” that screams “look at me I am active and fit and will energetically recruit for you”.

In fact, despite the reams and reams of ridiculous, pointless articles about what photo to have on your profile, it still comes down to common sense. The only advice I can think of (after 20 years in recruitment) would be:

  • Don’t make it controversial (one foot on a lion you just shot)
  • Don’t try to make it sexy (I am embarrassed I even have to tell you this, but a quick spin on LinkedIn tells me I do)
  • Do make it accurate (your 1994 graduation photo is pointless and fools nobody)
  • Don’t get too hung up about it (we are all in the same boat)
  • “Business” does not have to mean a picture of you actually doing business in the suit you got married in

 Scott Hutchinson is the Principal for Consumer, Retail & Technology at Interim Partners.

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