Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Straight from the Bottle: Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

Decisions, decisions…which photo to use for your profile? Hmmm…perhaps that photo where you’re sipping a cosmo? Yeah, you looked happy in that one with that big smile. Or how about the one where you’re holding a rare bottle of merlot?

Sounds funny but both the examples above are real. But here’s the kicker; both photos appeared on LinkedIn. Thankfully, those pics are long gone. And no, I haven’t seen any profile pictures where beer is being guzzled from the bottle but I’m sure they’re out there!

Now, what did these photos tell us about those two people? The cosmopolitan drinker, an administrative assistant, had a carefree look on her face. It may not have been her first cosmo.

Would you hire her? She was job hunting when that photo was up.

The second, a President of a small company holding a wine bottle, signifies that he’s an aficionado; however, it may also be suggesting what happens after 5PM.

Unless you are a part of the wine or alcohol industry, it’s not a good idea to be associated with these beverages in a professional setting. Why even open up that can of worms?
Other faux pas?

Using a photo of someone else. I've seen George Washington. On LinkedIn.
A photo of your child, you as a cute kid, you with a cute kid. No. No. No.
Smoking. Anything. It’s a turn off for people that don’t participate in that habit.
Cleavage. If you’re not a pole dancer, cover it up.
Inappropriate clothing. Leopard and sequins won’t work here.
Scenery. This worked when Nissan launched Infiniti; remember the trees?
A photo of a pet. Trainers, groomers, have one with YOU and the pet.
Fuzzy photos. Not impressive.
Messy hair. Wash, blow dry, comb it, style it.

You get the idea.

Here’s the professional skinny:

DO have a photo on LinkedIn. Of YOU. Make sure it’s crisp and professional looking.  If you can swing a professional photo, go for it. It’s best for guys to wear a button down shirt with a collar; however, clothing should be aligned with your type of work. If you wear a uniform of some sort, wear it in the photo.  And I’m not going to push the tie thing since our world has become so casual. Concentrate on neatness.  The photo should be fairly recent, not from twenty years ago.

To the folks with gray hair: If you’re out and about and people are seeing you in public, what’s the difference? And while it’s always possible that a potential employer will discriminate once they see you, did you really want to work for a company with an attitude like that anyway? Gray hair is plentiful in today’s society: Grace Slick, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Paula Dean, etc.

If you’re on other social networks (yes, that’s likely) try to be consistent across social networks. This will help you recognize people across various platforms.

For Facebook, it really depends on how you use your personal page; if it’s masquerading as a business page*, then you do have to keep it professional. If you use it for personal reasons, heck, have fun. To maintain your professionalism, consider changing your settings so you’re a bit harder to search for.  For example, you can set up search so that only friends or friends of friends can search and find you, which means the recruiter or potential employer won’t find you but people who may know you on a more casual level will.

A good photo can reflect a little of your personality.  If you’re a fan of Pablo Picasso and you have a tie with his artwork on it, sure, wear it. It’s projecting YOU without screaming from the mountaintops. At the bottom of your LinkedIn profile, mention your love of contemporary art to “tie” it in. Then people learn a little bit about you.

After all, it is about YOU and how you project YOU to others. Preferably, your choice will be "bottleless".

Note: There ARE exceptions to every rule; do feel free to let me know about your thoughts.

* If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how I feel about using a personal profile as a business page on Facebook. If you don’t know, click here to see why you need a business page.

Make me smile and follow, like, and circle me! You'll smile too. I promise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My single friend tells me that the only thing worse than that is the cute muscular guy on the dating website who turns out to be 15 years older, 10 inches shorter and bald. Let's be real, people.