There are various methods that companies use to screen applicants for a position when they apply for a new job – the most common being the traditional Myers-Briggs personality test and a call to the references listed on their CVs. However, t here are other ways of screening new employees, which include following them on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. Your profile photograph will either entice the potential employer to continue looking through your long list of expertise and endorsements or have them scrambling for the privacy settings to avoid accidently coming across your inebriated bikini commercial shot in the future.
According to Janine Starkey, owner and director of the House of Janine and a professional image consultant, image is not what you wear or how you style your hair but everything from your nails, makeup, accessories to the condition of your skin or the designer stubble that you are currently sporting. Starkey has a few suggestions of how to enhance your image in a profile photograph to make sure your picture is “censored but real”: 1. CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE When deciding on what kind of photo to upload in that all important profile picture space on any social network, keep in mind who will be looking at it and what part of yourself you want them to see. “Your pictures should tell your story and speak to each other across the various platforms. You may not want to use the same picture on all of your pages, but continuity helps the audience that sees these photos trust that the person you are online is the same person in real life,” says Starkey. Doing some research into the industry you are working and the kinds of photos used on company’s websites can help guide you to the kind of look and feel you will want to follow. 2. SMILE, SMILE, SMILE Unless you are aiming to look coy and elusive, which should be reserved strictly for online dating sites, smile! A smile invites the viewer in and engages them in the picture; it also makes you look approachable and easy going. There are not many managers that are looking for high maintenance, up-tight employees. If the state of your teeth is an issue, a quick touch-up in Photoshop can hide unsightly gaps and lighten that smoker’s stain. A smile also indicates accessibility, but ensure that when you do smile you open your eyes. Too many people screw up their eyes and eliminate the element of engagement that eyes offer to the viewer. 3. SPEAK THE LANGUAGE Body language communicates 70%80% of a message, with verbal communicating only 20%-30%, so the way you pose for your photo will communicate how you want to be received. Having your arms folded even though you might have a smile, conveys conflicting messages and makes the viewer unsure. Keep your arms out of the way and away from your face. A clean, uncluttered picture helps develop trust in the image and in you. Don’t hide your hands, t his i mmediately gives t he impression that you have something you don’t want the viewer to see and doesn’t help develop trust or approachability. Starkey notes that, for example, a blonde looking to portray a strong image should keep their shoulders square but someone trying to soften a look should have their shoulder slightly tilted to one side. 4. FASHION STATEMENT What should you wear for a shoot? Stripes, dots and brands are all out. Stick to clean colors that don’t detract from your face. Stains and wrinkles are a definite don’t, so check your outfit beforehand to make sure none of these exist. Black and white close to your face drain the color away from your face and eyes, so wear accessories that are simple yet colorful to keep the focus above shoulder level if you aren’t going to wear a colorful shirt. Don’t wear tops that go past the collar bone. “Showing positive f lesh encourages people to trust you, enough f lesh like forearms and collar bones are a good thing, outfits that are too revealing and, even worse, exposed tattoos often turn employers off,” comments Starkey. She also suggests that for a corporate look a jacket can be worn, and not necessarily a blazer – an informal day jacket still make a photograph look professional and sophisticated. 5. MAKEUP MALFUNCTIONS (IF APPLICABLE) Silver glitter should be avoided at all costs and make up should be kept natural enough not to detract from the face