Wondering why everyone else is getting great results off LinkedIn – while you’re waiting for your turn?
I don’t know you, but I’ll take a guess – your photo is probably terrible.
How could I possibly know this? I’ve talked too often with the frustrated job seeker who, disenchanted with LinkedIn, says he or she believes “LinkedIn doesn’t work.”
This is nearly always the person with a major photo disadvantage.
So what’s the best way to figure out if you’re due for a photo upgrade? Read on for some common signs of a LinkedIn Photo mishap:
1 – You don’t receive a reply to your InMails or inquiries.
Is every message you send to recruiters ignored? Hmmm… what could be the problem?
If ALL of the following are true:
You’re applying to companies that hire people in your field;
Your industry hasn’t tanked;
You’re reasonably qualified (education and experience-wise) to fill these positions;
You’ve verified that the recipient appears to be an active LinkedIn user (at least 500 Connections is a good sign);
Your inquiry (and Profile) are professionally worded and relevant to the job requirements;
It might be time to take another look at that photo.
2 – You’re wearing an expression, and it’s not a professional one.
Too many people look surprised, angry, scared, or otherwise bug-eyed in their LinkedIn photos. Is this you?
Did you take use a picture snapped in an otherwise non-professional mood?
If you’re not sure how your photo comes across, send it to at least 3 trusted friends and ask them how they interpret the picture. Based on this feedback, consider trying out another shot that better represents your work demeanor.
3 – You’re somewhere that isn’t work.
And if it’s a bar or a party, that’s NOT a good setting from your future boss’s perspective. Even a photo inside your car says “I didn’t take the time to put my best professional foot forward.”
The best shots for a LinkedIn photo show only you, without friends, passing vehicles, or your dog taking center stage. In fact, the more minimal the background (and the less controversial your attire), the easier it is for your personality to shine through.
In short, your LinkedIn photo is your public face – the one most interviewers, recruiters, and employers will use to make a decision on your fitness for your next job. Make sure it represents your personal brand!
If you believe it could detract from your professional image, switch things up with a conservative, professional-looking headshot that could make the difference in finding that next great opportunity.
Not if you’re hunting through your phone or searching family pictures for your avatar.
If your photo doesn’t enhance your credibility, it CAN hurt your job search. This especially true if you’re posting any old photo without giving it serious thought.
These items should NOT take center stage in your LinkedIn likeness:
1 – Your spouse’s shoulder.
Standing close enough to another person that their hair, shoulder, or cheek can be seen in your photo? Busted!
Cropping yourself out of a party shot, family photo, or other group picture implies that you’re uploading any available shot to LinkedIn.
However, employers might assume you’ll take the same off-the-cuff approach to your career. Get past your reluctance to have your photo taken by asking a friend to take some flattering shots or by visiting a pro.
(Note: even a businesslike “selfie” is preferable to cropping yourself out of the family reunion.)
2 – Your kitchen.
Hey, I love your style! However, LinkedIn photos should represent your business side, not your taste for interior decorating.
Consider using a shot that shows your “work personality,” incorporating the backdrop of your office, manufacturing facility, boardroom, or laboratory. Even a great outdoor pose can strike the right note.
3 – Too much of YOU.
You certainly wouldn’t wear a revealing blouse to your interview, so why show this on LinkedIn? (OK, please don’t show this on LinkedIn.)
What if hiring managers in your field have an old-school approach to vetting candidates? You won’t find out, other than being excluded for a job opportunity.
So, save the tank top, glamour shot, or strapless dress for another use.
4 – Your wide-eyed selfie.
Maybe you CAN take a great picture of yourself… or maybe not.
If you’re wearing an air of surprise or the background appears distorted, your selfie is not doing you any favors.
Consider asking a friend to snap a few shots of you in different areas and lighting conditions. The same friend can also give a thumbs-up to your attire, expression, and demeanor in the photo you select for LinkedIn.
So, what’s the best alternative to these LinkedIn photo fails?
You can’t go wrong with job interview attire or clothing typical of your workday (open-collar shirt, suit and tie, blouse and sweater, etc.). Pick a shot that represents your best “work personality.”
This way, you’ll be sure to attract the right kind of attention, demonstrating your intent as a serious contender for a new, challenging professional role.
Ready to make LinkedIn work harder for you… but unsure how to generate activity from the site?
Confused as to why your Profile viewers never get in touch with you?
LinkedIn will have a tremendous impact on your job search – generating new Connections, recruiter calls, and networking opportunities – but this only happens when you actively cultivate your Profile as a keyword-rich, career-specific presentation that wows employers.
Here’s a list of ways you might be dissuading hiring authorities from reaching out to you online: (more…)
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