7 ways to know it’s time for a new profile picture

Brigid Barrett

Brigid Barrett

Hi! I'm a print & web designer and interactive web developer with over a decade of design experience. I've worked with clients ranging from individual freelancers just starting out to large corporations.

If you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, you probably have a profile picture. But how do you know it’s time for a new picture? If any of these apply to you, it’s time:

1) You don’t have a profile picture
Chances are you are on at least one social media platform, or have a department page with a picture. If you have any kind of social media you should have a profile picture — don’t be the faceless egg on Twitter or else people will think you’re trolling them.

2) Your picture doesn’t look like you anymore
Maybe you’ve been at the same institution for years and are using that old headshot, but just like with online dating, if your picture is out-of-date it is time for a new picture.

3) You have a picture with other people in it
Your online footprint belongs to you, not your sorority reunion.

4) You’re wearing unprofessional clothing
I bet that spring break to Tijuana was epic, but if your profile picture is you in a bathing suit doing a kegstand, please, for the love of all that is holy change it now. Imagine a prospective department head searching for your name and seeing that! (Oh, and Google how to make your Facebook uploads private, while you’re at it.)

5) Your picture has bad lighting
I mean, if you’re going to have a picture at all, let us be able to see it.

6) It’s a selfie
No. Just no.

7) Your picture is grainy or poor quality
Just as having a modern website or awesome-looking blog is putting your best foot forward, it comes across as unprofessional if you can’t even find a picture of you that is large enough to sit in a social media square. Even a three-generation-old iPhone can take a high-quality photo and I bet you know someone who has an iPhone, even if you don’t.

Bonus Tip:

You don’t necessarily have pay for a headshot to be your profile picture (although it makes it easier and a guaranteed result). Find a friend, wear something clean and professional, and stand in front of a simple background in good lighting. You could do it today!

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