You know the headshot symbol that commonly appears in emails or social media which is a box with the profile of a head in it? It is what you see when the sender has not taken the time to attach a photo. You are better off with no picture if you don’t follow a few simple rules.
To set a photo, go into system preferences when the account is first established and enter a photo if you have not done so already. However, in doing so, please keep in mind who your audience is or might be your audience and consider the following tips when selecting that photo.
For instance, if you are seeking employment in a prestigious law firm, I have a few simple rules that you might want to follow to guarantee your success.
1. Find a photo that was taken of you 20 years ago before you gained 50 extra pounds, lost your hair and where you still have mutton chop sideburns. After all, you look much better and no one will ever notice when you meet the recipient of your email in person.
2. Find a cute kitty symbol or monster truck photo to send attached to your email especially when you are seeking employment with someone who will be interviewing you for a position as a potential associate in a high profile business transaction law firm.
3. Find the dress in your closet which has the lowest cut neckline that you can find. This is especially effective if you are especially buxom and the dress is two sizes too small. This is guaranteed to get the attention of the reader so that the content of your email will be only secondary to their appreciation of your outstanding physical features.
4. See if you can find someone on spring break to be in a photo with you two having a beer. In addition, make sure that it is impossible to tell from the photo, who is the sender? The one with a t-shirt that says “We love Mary Jane”, or the one wearing the t-shirt that says,”Weed Love To Meet You In Any Joint”.
5. If you have tattoos, make sure that they are visible and if possible, through your wet t-shirt. Do not wear a shirt or blouse with a collar, t-shirts are best to let everyone know that you are a regular guy or gal. This helps you fit in with everyone else in the firm as you will not appear to be stuck up or from some preppy institution.
Keep in mind that the image that you present to the world can make a very strong impression in unintended ways. I have cautioned students in the past when I see photos that are offensive, immature, confusing, or degrading for the sender. It often surprises students that they made a less than favorable impression. It is better to attach a photo, if you have one that is appropriate. Give some thought to the photo you post and if possible have a professional headshot taken which you can use for a few years, but don’t keep using it for too long. As you age, keep your shots current and if you are practicing law, make sure that any photos you may post in social media are conservative and appropriate to make the best impression possible.
Follow a few simple rules and you can advance your career and professional objectives. Fail to follow them and you may never know how many people who see your image ignore or minimize the message attached to the photo.