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Selfie Your Way To Success?

The selfie has had a great time of it recently; from being awarded Word of the Year 2013, featured at the Academy Awards and becoming the most retweeted thing ever, and now focusing on it’s charity work. If the selfie were a person it would be thinking of releasing it’s autobiography or expecting to be knighted by now. So how can a selfie help your career?

With the proliferation of smart phones featuring high-quality cameras you are more likely to see a profile picture that’s taken on a mobile camera over anything more professional. Lots of mobiles have a front facing camera specifically for video chats and selfies. So when you’re coming to pick your profile image for your professional social networks, like LinkedIn, it’s easy to just snap one on your smart phone. But there are some things you need to think about before you post, here’s some examples to get you started:

The Bad-Lighting

JP PhotoJP PhotoGood lighting makes a photograph but you don’t need a blinding flash or studio conditions to pull off a good picture. You need to find a location that’s not too bright and not too dark. Check where the light source is – overhead lighting can show shadows under your eyes and nose for example.



The Mug Shot

JP PhotoYou’re concentrating so hard on making the picture look okay that you forget to smile! Remember you’re trying to come across as a likeable person and a smile is a great way to show this. Also be aware of what’s going on behind you in the shot, you want people to notice you, not wonder where you are.





The Mirror-Mirror

JP PhotoJP PhotoIf you don’t have a front facing camera you might be tempted to utilise a mirror to take the shot. It can work well but you will need to crop the image to your head and shoulders so make sure that your hand is far enough away from your face. And again, check your background.




The Half-Face

JP PhotoA popular social network favourite, for some reason only showing half of your face. This might be because your camera is slightly offset on your phone. Have a look where your camera lens is (usually a little circle in the front) and point that at your face rather than the whole phone.





The High-Angle

JP PhotoA personal favourite of mine as the high-angle can hide a multitude of sins and double chins. But it’s too playful for a professional profile picture and the angle is slightly unsettling.






The Professional

Taken with the front facing camera on an iPhone at arms length, against a white wall next to a window but with lights on. Turning slightly at an angle to the camera helps create a more natural pose. The framing is so you can’t see an arm holding onto the phone and notice the eyes are about third of the way from the top of the picture.

JP Photo

If you’re using a selfie as a profile picture make sure that you’re aware that you’re presenting your personal brand so spend some time to get it right. The benefit of digital cameras is that you can see the results straight away and take lots of shots before you find one you’re happy with.

There’s also lots of free photo editing software out there to help you make the most of your photo. And remember – a LinkedIn profile with a photo is more likely to be looked at by hiring managers, so make sure yours counts!

Photo credit: Copyright Remontado

Jerome Price is the Online and Digital Content Manager in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire.

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