Appearance is 55% of the Personal SaleThe importance of image is nothing new. In 1967 UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian conducted a famous communication experiment that compared the results of visual and verbal messages. From that study, it can be generally concluded that 55% of your received message comes from visual reception. That percentage has been disputed over the years which Olivia Mitchell covers in “Mehrabian and nonverbal communication”
Nevertheless, the professional community has universally recognized the priority vision is given for making judgments. This makes sense because at the most primitive cognition levels, we have to recognize friend from foe before a foe is close enough to harm us. Vision is what gives us that instant and distant information that has been vital to survival throughout our existence on this planet. Even though this is old information, it is still relevant to our digitized social media world.
Appearance is 19% of the Digital SaleToday’s digital world is still judging you by the picture you use to represent yourself. “An eye-tracking heatmap created by job site TheLadders found that recruiters spend 19% of their time on your online profile looking at your picture. Not as much time is spent on your skills or past work experience. Therefore, your picture plays a big role in whether you're able to interest a recruiter enough to reach out to you. You want to look like a credible, confident, and professional person who anyone would want to have in their office.” (Giang, Vivian. "8 Profile Picture Rules Every Professional Should Follow." Business Insider. November 12, 2013. Accessed September 23, 2015.)
Photo Self Evaluation ToolIt is not always easy to know what affect your photo is having. I for one fully understand how difficult it is to get an honest opinion from friends who either don’t want to hurt your feelings or are making judgments based on a personal bias rather than a professional one. The best unbiased profile analysis tool that I know of is https://www.photofeeler.com . After setting up a free account and scoring random profile images, you can upload your image and have random people tell you how they perceive you from your photo. They don’t know you, so they will point out all your flaws.
Pointers to Improve Image flawsSince how to have a great profile image has been covered by many knowledgeable and excellent writers, I will let them tell you the pointers. A quick internet search will give you a stack of great articles. Here are a couple of articles I found to get you started;
- Your Profile Picture is Bringing Down Your Job Search by Amanda Augustine http://info.theladders.com/career-advice/professional-profile-photo-pitfalls
- Professional Guidelines for your Profile Picture by Nancy Disciullo http://www.careerprofiles.com/blog/job-seeker-advice-tips/blog-professional-guidelines-for-your-profile-picture/
- How Using the Right Photo Online Can Help Your Career by Miriam Salpeter http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/2011/05/25/how-using-the-right-photo-online-can-help-your-career
- Guide to a professional profile picture by Justin Thompson http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-01-24/classified/chi-job-profile-picture-ideas-20120124_1_you-re-social-media-photos
- 7 Linkedin Profile Pictures Keeping You From Landing A Job by Laura Smith-Proulx http://careerrocketeer.com/2013/06/7-linkedin-photos-that-can-keep-you-from-landing-a-job.html