Whoever coined this phrase was definitely onto something. In my career, I have had the privelige of meeting thousands of people and if I am brutally honest, I have made assessments - even judgements [I am only human after all!] and I have very definitely got it wrong, probably many times.
The thing is....I have also met many people in a job interview scenario, and on the whole, it is my experience that most people make an effort to give a good first impression, business suits, shirts, ties, all that kind of thing, the reason is obvious!
If you are using Linkedin as a job search tool or a business presence, why is it so important to get the profile image just right? Take a look at your image now, be honest, if you were viewing it for the first time, what would you think?
Do you look ultra-polished, like you have made an effort, or is it more a case that you have used the least blurred image that you can find on your phone?
OK, I know we shouldn't make assumptions, I know that we should be open minded, but there seems to be something about us as people, that is 'hard-wired'! We just can't seem to help ourselves. Here are 6 situations to consider before uploading an image to Linkedin.
1. No Profile Picture: How disappointing! Whoever has posted their information has not even bothered to find a decent photo. What are they hiding? I have encountered worries that their picture may cause viewers to discriminate, or they may not feel particularly photo-genic, but there should be something there, you may need to be imaginative, but leaving it blank causes us to wonder why.
2. Poor Quality Picture: OK! Not all of us may be Photoshop gurus, but blurred images, stretched or squashed images, poor lighting or so much red-eye that it reminds you of a Hammer House of Horror movie? Really? To me, this just says ‘This’ll do! I will just slap this picture on there!’ Would that be how you feel about going to an interview or going into an important business meeting? Probably not.
3. Inappropriate Setting: If you have a picture of yourself with a bar in the background, a snapshot of you enjoying yourself [where the red-eye may not be the camera’s fault even] it is a risk, remember ‘first impressions last’ – nobody will judge you if you go out on the weekend, or have a busy social life, but it doesn’t belong in a professional setting.
4. A Picture, but you’re not in it: What? I have seen it…the portrait of your children, a car, a cat! I have even seen a picture of a finger with eyes and a mouth drawn on it – smoking a cigarette..[no – I won’t send you the link!] Seriously…..I have said it before but THIS IS NOT FACEBOOK! People want to see you, this is your profile.
5. A Company Logo: This is more of a judgement call. You may be in business, but is this the place for your logo? You can actually create a company page for your company on Linkedin – check their help page for how to do it.
6. A Cartoon of Yourself: Unless you are a cartoonist, animator etc, just stop it!
The message here is ‘People do business with people!’
I am not suggesting that you pay hundreds of pounds on your photo, but you should at least ask someone who has a decent camera to take the shot, if you search your network, you may even be able to find someone local who is pretty qualified and needs some experience who would be happy to take and edit a couple of shots for you for a small fee.
I have come across a couple of issues mentioned in point 1, so if you are struggling in any way about what photo you should post or if you have any discrimination worries or the like, get in touch and I will let you know what my advice is.
Any feedback or comments on this would be most gratefully accepted - you'll find me on twitter: @careervisa
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