Do YOU Look Credible?

Today it seems that everyone has an online presence of some sort: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, or blog comments. The growth of “social media” involvement expands daily and this leads me to my pet peeve of the day.

What do you look like online?

As I look at my Twitter stream, Facebook news feed, LinkedIn feed, my own blog, and blogs I comment on, I see people who are out there but their online presence is either the filler image from the media or it is a cartoon character.

We are in a digital age, friends. Though I use a professional photographer for my images (thanks, Scott!), you can just have a friend or family member shoot your photo and upload it to your hard drive. I would recommend a shot that you would be proud to show your mom, so let’s omit any of the party photos that show you chugging a pitcher of beer or the beach photos in your bathing suit. You can be casual but don’t go overboard.

From there, free programs like IrfanView can resize your photo into an appropriate size for web applications.

Using Gravatar, you can then set up an account, upload the photo and everywhere you comment, you will look the same. (GRAVTAR = A Globally Recognized Avatar.) Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?

On your other social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…) upload the photo and you now have a consistent image. If you want to use a different image for different platforms, go ahead but remember that if your network knows you as one image and if you have a different one on every platform, it will be hard to identify you.

One of the worst images – actually more than one – etched into my memory is someone on Facebook who consistently uses ridiculous images on her profile. At one point, it was the back end of an animal (a rhino)… what does that say about you?

Why Bother?

In most cases, you have a reason for being online. Michael Lunsford makes a very good point in his post, Burn that Star wars T-shirt! Image matters.  If you are looking for a new position or new career, think about the image you are projecting. If you are trying to attract the attention of hiring managers, your image will make a better impression that a cartoon.

If you are a business trying to build a network, your potential customers want to know who you are too. Personally, if you are blogging or tweeting for your business, I don’t want to talk to your logo. I want to see you as a person. I am not a fan of logos as avatars. I am sure some of the marketing experts may disagree with me but I believe the concept of social media is being social. Social to me means people.

So, that is my pet peeve of the day – and your assignment. Go and become recognizable!

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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