GET A PICTURE – A GOOD PICTURE – ON LINKEDIN NOW!!!
This morning, as I was puttering around on LinkedIn – as I do every morning (it’s my time to give my endorsements, in response to those who have been so kind as to me their thumbs-up for my work), it occurred to me as I sipped my coffee and performed my usual routine, that at least 40% of the people in my network still DIDN’T have a picture on their Profile. WOW, it’s something I hadn’t really paid attention to in a while.
Ummh, it’s time for all you faceless networkers out there to step it up a notch. Trust me, a picture speaks a thousand words – no-one likes to communicate with someone they can’t reach out and practically touch. While it might not be something many of us really think about at all, I’m here to tell you, it’s really important to brand yourself appropriately and this begins with having a picture. Not having a picture puts you at a decided disadvantage.
LinkedIn is a critically important business networking tool. I read this yesterday in an article “LinkedIn is a (living) network, not a list of names”…it’s a 360 dynamic network of smart connections…instantly connecting everyone to everyone else by one degree of separation… a multi-level connectivity”. Why would anyone want themselves to be FACELESS within such a powerful and useful business tool with the potential to offer so much.
So here it is it though, we then slap up a picture that looks palatable on a LinkedIn and never really give it a second thought. But recently as three of us at Argentus nervously sat waiting for our new headshots to be taken for our website/LinkedIn profiles (and for other social networking mediums), we got talking about the importance of the visual impression people make in business through social networking. Is it important? Should it be important? Why is it important?
The answer is simple, a great first impression is critically important. Humans are visual no matter which way you slice it. It’s human nature to be visually motivated. Social networking has put us as a society at arm’s length to one another (sad but true) so individuals seeking to connect and network for employment, to consult, to strike business deals etc, really, really need to cultivate interest in one another by personalizing the LinkedIn experience and in so doing cultivating their personal brand.
This starts with a great picture. And that’s exactly why anyone who is serious about networking on LinkedIn MUST rush out and get their picture posted NOW. The interest in you will improve dramatically – it is the way of the jungle and there is no point in fighting what exists.
So having dealt with the camera shy group, here are a few words for those who have pictures on business networking sites that are better kept for Facebook. Plunging necklines, eveningwear, tuxedos, bathing suits, miniskirts, provocative looks (we have all seen them along the way and shaken our heads) and such really send the wrong message for business networking. They don’t do anything for ones credibility. To other networkers (who range from assistants to CEO’s) looking at your business credentials, that first visual impression speaks volumes and can scream – I don’t take things seriously – which is probably the furthest thing from the truth. RETHINK your photo choice and leave the fun stuff for Facebook.
Photo appropriateness or inappropriateness comes in many shapes and sizes in business networking. For recruiting, hiring managers usually go to LinkedIn before they decide to meet with a candidate. We see it again and again in our specialty of Supply Chain, Retail and Strategic Sourcing. Why not, it’s great background material for the hiring process. A less than appropriate photo can be a deal breaker or just leave a ho-hum impression. Not good – you want to blow a prospective employer or recruiter away with a strong personal brand. Baseball caps or really hats of any kind are not a go on a LinkedIn unless of course it’s a cultural headdress. T-shirts (I’ve just been out to do the laundry or for a run), photos in social setting like at the beach, gardening, in a group (which one are you) are also not good choices. Pictures from twenty feet away – not a good choice – can’t see you!!! And if we can see up your nostrils you are way too close. Being silly – also leave that for Facebook this is business. In a bar where someone took the snap you post or against a beige wall or a brick wall (you look like a drinker or perhaps you just broke out of jail – just kidding – but seriously you are not doing yourself any favours)
So here’s the deal. Argentus knows the Recruiting field very well. We work with Executives and Professionals, so we have a good understanding of how to pitch oneself in the right light (read our other brand awareness blogs to get more meat on that). It is certainly money well invested to take an hour to book time with a professional photographer or a friend who takes great pics. Get some really modern upscale and professional shots that sell your personal brand. Some people have amazing shots that say it all. Spend a couple of hours and look at what you think comes across as confident, professional and in style.
Over and out for now