What impression does your Avatar make?

Admit it, we judge people by the way they look.


What if you ran an add looking for someone to fill a position, and you had 7 prospective candidates apply, they all came to the table with nearly identical skills sets. Out of the 7 you only need 3 or 4 to come in for an interview. Now the question comes down to who do you ask, how do you make the selection out of this group?

You’ve probably done this before. You pick the last two “on sale” items left in a store, let’s say it’s a shirt, and their black. Comparing them side by side and their an exact match, now you look for the smallest of details, a thread out of place, missing button, anything that helps you select the “better” of the two.

your avatar and what it meansOK, now back to our applicants. They all applied directing us to review their LinkedIn profiles. As I stated in the “pretend” scenario that the credential were pretty much the same across the board. The differentiators now comes down to their profile images and your “gut” feeling. I know a little about images and gut feelings as I’m a professional photographer.

What can you learn from an avatar?

More importantly  what impression does their image give us, and what would it give a potential client of yours.

Understanding how first impressions are formed to faces is a topic of theoretical interest
that has been given added importance especially with the recent explosion of social media sites. One could have their images spread over 30 or more sites. Lets leave the subject of multiple, but different profile images, say one for a dating site and another for a potential online investment start-up portfolio for another day.

According to a study by: Psychological Science. First Impressions of social traits, as to whether a person is meek, dominating or trustworthy are reliably perceived in faces. Regardless of whether you think this is valid or not these opinions have real world consequences.

What is fascinating to learn from this study is that some people can read traits from a profile image in as little as 100 ms, and the brain appears to tracks social traits, such as trustworthiness or a trouble maker irregardless of a straight forward evaluation.

What impression does your Avatar make? Lets make sure it’s done right.

Here are some of basics.

Where the appropriate attire, unique to your job is OK. Doctor, golf instructor, etc

  • Grooming
  • Freshly shaved
  • If your shooting your own be sure your well lighted
  • Solid background- no telephone pole or lamps coming out of your head?
  • Make-up is tastefully applied
  • Does your image match what your trying to portray?
  • Are you properly posed?
  • Crop your photo properly
  • Remove that 10 year old photograph with a new one- right?
  • And, while we’re being hopeful, hopefully you’ve taken down the image with that funky looking face and hand gesture, think “myspace” right?

Why consider a pro photographer

your avatar, impression of a good photograph. As I stated above I’m a professional photographer. I can tell you from experience when I’m looking at a face, either through the lens of my camera or on my 27” I mac if their coming across as approachable or not.

Can a pro shoot for a “unique” look? I believe so, in fact I’ve been asked at times to “tone down” or “ratchet up” a portrait image based on what impression the client wants to make and where the client is being published. If your trying to sell yourself, product or service you want to put your absolute best face forward.

In this swipe and click online environment where people hardly read past the first sentence, you won’t get a second chance to make that first impression. So spend some time on your linkendin image and try to nail it. After all your trying to land that big job, or get the big contract, so let’s do it while you sleep!

Mark Medeiros

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