We all know that first impressions count. In the recruitment 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 with 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 from that person we can easily hide their posts. They then lose the traction they were hoping for, and us as an audience. Shame for them, and silly really.
Be found at the right time
One of the keys to using LinkedIn successfully, is to be easily 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 possible. 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 off? 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 employee’s LinkedIn profiles and along the way, have been updating my resources. This includes finding example profile pictures to help them understand the right kind of photos to use, and the kind you should steer clear from.
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 have been far worse, too.
And before you ask, yes these are real examples and were all from professional people; not escorts, pole dancers, dog walkers, wedding planners and travel reps – I’m talking about professional (or not so professional) recruiters! 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 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 (recently)
- No cartoons or avatars
- No company logos
- No selfies
- Worst of all – DON’T LEAVE 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 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.