When you’re interacting with people online, first impressions count! A killer self-portrait is a great resource to have, as you can use it in many professional settings – such as on your resume or your LinkedIn. Here is Vygo's guide to what constitutes a winning profile picture.
1. Use a headshot and fill the frame
It may be tempting to use a photo of your silhouette on top of a mountain from your holiday, but those kind of snaps are best left for your Instagram reel. Mentees aren’t looking for a hiking buddy; they’re looking for a professional mentor, so your photo needs to show your face in a calm setting. Think professional, yet approachable. If the mentoring you’ve signed up to do is less focused on academia and more centred on interpersonal connection, such as mental health, take extra care to make sure you look welcoming in the shot.
2. Show your face
If your face is obscured or very far away in your picture, prospective mentees will be more hesitant to reach out to you. Vygo is a platform that promotes human connection and interaction, and mentees need to be able to recognise you from your photo when you meet up, be it online or in real life.
3. Use a simple, contrasting backdrop
Clean lighting and a background that contrasts your complexion or your outfit can go wonders in making a photo pop and stand out from the sea of others. Good backdrop ideas include greenery, textured walls (including brick, wood and sandstone) and plain-coloured backgrounds. Alternative suggestions could be you sitting at your desk or in front of a library of books.
4. Ask someone else to take the photo
Selfies have their place, but not in a professional context. By no means do we suggest you need to go out and pay someone for a headshot, but unless you're particularly skilled at using the self-timer button, ask a friend or a relative to take your picture for you.
The secret to looking approachable in a picture is a pretty obvious one – smile! Communicate your professionalism in the way you present, carry and describe yourself, and flash a grin when the camera snaps to let prospective mentees know that you’re friendly and have time for them.