Candidate

We all know that first impressions count. In business it is so important and in the world of social media platforms that first impression can cost you dearly if you get it wrong.

There are many horror stories of people posting mad things to Facebook etc, but historically most have been more conservative with LinkedIn. Sadly, that trend seems to be changing, and there are more and more posts appearing of things like motivational quotes, cartoons, religious posts, general funnies, and other things not quite right for the platform.

If we don’t like what we see on our feed we can easily hide that person’s posts. They then loses the traction they were hoping for, and us as an audience. Shame for them, and silly really.

Be found

One of the keys of using LinkedIn successfully, is to be found. Be found for the things we want to be found for, and when someone does find us, let them see the very best impression of us that we can. After all, we want them to contact us don’t we?

Of course there is a lot that goes into being found on LinkedIn, but once you are found what impression do you give?

One of the most obvious and simple things to get right is your profile photo.

I’ve been doing some work for a client recently, helping them to improve their LinkedIn profiles and along the way been updating my resources, including finding example profile pictures to help them understand the right kind of photos to use, and the kind not to.

OMG really?

Along the way I have seen some great stuff, and I’ve also seen some shockers.

I mean seriously, do you really think a photo of you in a very revealing ball dress, taken in a hotel bathroom was a good idea? You pole-dancing? Walking your dog? A wedding shot? Holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa? And amazingly there were worse too.

And before you ask, yes these are real and were all from professional people; not escorts, pole dancers, dog walkers, wedding planners and travel reps – they are Recruiters, Accountants, Lawyers, Marketeers and HR Consultants.

Studies on the subject show that your profile is 40% more likely to be viewed if you have a photo, and that the right photo helps to humanise you, warm the reader to you personally, and start the know, like and trust process off in the right way.

Getting it right

The right photo does wonders for you and your reputation. The goal is to help the reader want to find out more and show you how you want to be seen. How you want to be seen is very much about the right business impression, not a photo where you think you look nice!

So, here are a few simple dos and don’ts for showing a great LinkedIn profile photo:

  • Do have a close up (a headshot)
  • Don’t show your partner or kids
  • No Facebook type photos
  • It needs to be you (and you recently)
  • No cartoons or avatars
  • No company logos
  • No selfies
  • Worst of all – leaving it blank!

Please check out your photo again and decide if it shows you in the way you want to be seen. And if you are in any doubt, show a trusted colleague, your mother, father, sister, brother or your boss – they will be very honest with you!

And, if you are still in any doubt a headshot photographer will do you a great job for you, if your budget stretches to using one (they are not as pricey as you might think). But if not, then a nice close up of you, dressed appropriately against a neutral background can be taken with any smart phone these days and will work very well indeed.

About the author: James Nathan runs the James Nathan experience; the Business Development, Sales and Service Excellence Expert for Professional Recruiters.

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