Face It

Where I work, employees are allowed to create their own personal Web page in the company directory. You also have the option of posting pictures of yourself to accompany your personal profile. About 70% of employees who have personal Web pages post pictures (face only). Do you think it’s hurtful for African Americans to post pictures on their personal Web page?
-P. Perdue, New York City

Having a picture on a personal Website-face only-offers a more intimate portrayal of who you are as an individual-not just an employee. Unfortunately for many African Americans in the workforce, we often tend to operate modestly and discreetly, which is sometimes why we are overlooked for certain opportunities.

Is it possible that someone will look at your photo and respond, “Oh, I didn’t know she was black?” Of course, but you can’t change your color and if you expect to gain any level of visibility to increase your opportunities within this company, enough people will eventually know what you look like. If you feel your color is a barrier where you work, then it is time to look for a new job in a company that embraces diversity.

What I will suggest is to concentrate less on the photo and focus more on the content of your profile. It should be interesting, professionally creative, and well written. Every time you have an occasion to present yourself or your work to colleagues it should be seen as an opportunity to build your profile. Say cheese!