Follow these personal branding tips to make sure your Google profile picture is helping, not hurting, your professional brand.

Gmail is one of the most popular email services out there today. In fact, if you're using an antiquated email address like or, I urge you to create a Gmail account that's reserved for your job-search and networking activities.

That said, there is something you should know about your Gmail account. Every time you send an email, whether it's to a friend or a prospective employer, your profile photo is included in the message. While you have the option to leave this image blank, it's better for you to change your Gmail profile picture to one that reinforces your professional brand. Ideally, this should be the same photo you're using for your professional online profiles like LinkedIn.

When choosing your profile picture, opt for a standard headshot that supports your personal brand and portrays you as professional and friendly. Avoid using a group shot, an awkward selfie, or (my favorite) the cropped image where half of your hair is cut out. To avoid the image looking blurry, select a photo that's 250 x 250 pixels or larger.

To upload or change your Gmail profile picture, follow the steps below, courtesy of Gmail's Help Center:

    1. Click the gear in the top right Settings Gear.
    2. Select Settings.
    3. From the My picture section, click Select a picture. The Upload a picture window will appear.
    4. Upload a new photo from your computer or select a photo from your previous Google profile photos.
    5. A box will appear over your photo, selecting part of it. Drag this selected region to crop your photo or resize the region by clicking and dragging one of the region corners.
    6. Click Apply Changes.
    7. You can select whether you'd like all Gmail users to see your picture or only those who you've allowed to chat with you, using the radio buttons next to your uploaded photo 

Your resume should support your personal brand. See how yours stacks up by submitting for a free resume critique from TopResume.

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