Your LinkedIn Profile is certainly your first, and can be your last chance to make a positive impression online.
It’s a combination of a sales pitch, a personal presentation, a business card, a brochure, a personal statement, a list of recommendations, a mini web-site, and a wave from across the room. It has a lot of work to do, and it only has a few seconds to either succeed or fail in doing that work. So – how do you make it a success?
This is the second of Ten Top Tips with my compliments, to help you make your LinkedIn Profile more effective. Enjoy!
Don’t want to read? Listen to me read this to you on SoundCloud (3m 37s)
Ten Tips for a better LinkedIn profile: 2/10
Tip 2: Look good
Have you ever seen a really good professional photographic portrait? One that makes you stop and think “What a great photo!” or “I’d like to meet him!” or “She looks like a fun person!” Does this apply to your LinkedIn headshot? if not, perhaps you need to take action…
The rules for a “good” profile photograph within LinkedIn are fairly simple: people should be able to read the expression on your face when looking at the small ‘thumbnail’ version that is created, and which accompanies your private message and group contributions. If people can’t read your expression, it’s a wasted opportunity – like meeting someone, but never looking them in the eye when talking to them, or mumbling constantly rather than speaking clearly.
Human beings process visual images much faster than text – they do this in milliseconds – and they draw conscious and subconscious messages from that image which are near-indelible ‘first impressions’. So if your first impression is a poor one, you’ve got little chance to recover.
For me, as in a social situation when in conversation, the key is being able to read the expression in your eyes – so some cool dark sunglasses may work well for Bono, but they won’t work for you.
Be consistent across other social media
Another important feature to help people recognise and take note of you is if you use a consistent image across your social channels, so that your LinkedIn image, your Twitter avatar and your Google+ photo all show the same professional image of you. It’s a simple bit of personal brand consistency. If people can walk into a crowded room and recognise you from your photograph, you’ve succeeded.
Get in touch with a professional photographer whose work you like, or have heard talked about – there are of course many here on LinkedIn. If your photograph is seen just 21 times a day online, you have 7,665 opportunities a year to make no impression, a bad impression, or a good impression, before you have even opened your mouth or anyone has read a word of your profile. That’s 7,665 potential contacts. Or 7,665 potential customers. Or 7,665 potential advocates. Or 7,665p eople ignoring you completely. If I invest in a professional portrait session, I can use the images for perhaps 3 or 4 years (gravity and hair follicles allowing) and if I get 100 ‘exposures’ a day, it’s worth the investment, because there will be at least 36,500 opportunities for people to simply say: “Oh – who’s that?”
So in a nutshell:
Get the best photograph you can. If you can’t pay a pro, get the background appropriate and uncluttered, make the lighting good, get the clothes and hair right, and smile. Please don’t ever use the flash feature on a phone: it’s a recipe for red eyes and flat features. Invest in making your first impression count, because you may not get the chance to make a second impression.