Have you looked at your LinkedIn profile picture recently? Is it a snapshot from your last holiday, a family pic with the rest of the family half chopped out, or even a selfie? If yes, then you need to read on!...
LinkedIn is growing in popularity (more than 2 new members join every second according to LinkedIn) and is becoming a critical tool both for those seeking to progress their career and those aiming to attract new clients to their business.
A 2015 survey by job site Jobvite, found that 87 percent of recruiters surveyed use LinkedIn as part of their hiring process - unsurprisingly, it ranks highest among all social media sites used by recruiters. A similar survey found that 73% of companies had successfully hired a candidate using social media (again, LinkedIn ranking highest).
Would you attend an interview in beachwear or your football shirt? Assuming you answer no, then consider whether your LinkedIn profile picture should show you dressed as such. A professional network deserves a professional picture. Most people spend so long preparing for an interview and crafting their pitch, but forget how they appear in a simple search result; Nicole Greenberg Strecker, managing director of recruitment agency STA Worldwide in Chicago says “It’s the first thing that recruiters look at."
LinkedIn themselves state that your profile is seven times more likely to be looked at if your profile includes a picture. However, avoid the selfie trap - the Jobvite survey found that 1 in 4 recruiters would be put off hiring a candidate if their profile image was a selfie.
Grace Killelea, founder of Half The Sky Leaderhip programme states that you should not underestimate the importance of a professional profile picture, and to remember that recruiters assess photos differently, depending on the industry (for example, by all means include your dog if you're a dog walker or groomer, but not if it's unrelated to your profession). She also recommends updating your photo every two years.
The way you'd like recruiters to assess your image and the message you wish to convey are, I believe, critical to the process of taking the photo. When a client books with me, I find out their industry and role, and we'll discuss what kind of message they would like their profile picture to deliver - from professsional, authoritative and serious, through to friendly, warm and personable, to quirky or cool. Everyone has something different they'd like to portray. The way I light your image, compose it, the background, how it's posed and the angle from which it is taken, as well as your expression, all help to convey this. (Who knew so much went into a simple headshot?!).
LinkedIn is not just for those job-hunting, it is also a great business development tool; in fact, LinkedIn actively market the platform as a database for finding prospective clients.
Ian Jackson, founder of offshoring company Enshored highlights the role LinkedIn can play in growing your business network, and gives his top tips for using it as such. Number one on his list is - you guessed it - get a professional profile picture. He says "I regularly get contacted by people through LinkedIn and the first thing you take in is the picture... You are selling yourself first, then your company."
The same rules apply anywhere you are promoting your business - people want to see who's behind it and it's important that when they do, that you're delivering the right message that's in line with your brand. Anywhere you're putting your business on the web and including a photo of yourself, ask yourself it it's the photo you want potential clients to judge your business by?
So... Take a look at LinkedIn, your website, your facebook business page. Is your photo professional? Is it going to help you secure new clients or your dream job? If you'd like a new profile picture, then please get in touch, I offer a selection of great value packages depending on what you need for you and your business.
Sources: http://www.jobvite.com/blog/welcome-to-the-2015-recruiter-nation-formerly-known-as-the-social-recruiting-survey/ http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-recruiters-screen-you-on-linkedin-2014-05-02 http://www.inc.com/ian-jackson/6-tips-for-using-linkedin-for-business-development.html