When it comes to LinkedIn 1st impressions count
If you’re connecting, commenting or simply have a fairly dormant profile the 1st thing people see when they look at your profile is Your Name, Your LinkedIn Headshot and Your Professional Headline
You wouldn’t turn to a networking meeting looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, have dried cornflakes around your mouth and baby sick all over your shirt
And yet on LinkedIn people are committing LinkedIn faux pas and doing the online equivalent
Ahead of our LinkedIn Profile Perfection workshop in Altrincham, South Manchester on January 29th myself and Award Winning Photographer Martin Hambleton have a discussion about the 5 Reasons You Might Need A New LinkedIn Headshot
We share personal anecdotes, experience and our thoughts on each of the reasons below
1. You really don’t like your current headshot
Martin: Would you send an email that had mistakes in it, or that said something you didn’t want it to? Of course not. So why would you post a photo that was unflattering, or was sending out the wrong message?
Everything that you say, post and publish is reflecting on you, your business and brand. So why would you even consider using something that you don’t like, or that doesn’t reflect those things?
Alex: I remember one headshot I had back in the day. It wasn’t a bad photo as such. Technically it was a great photo. But it was black and white and I come in technicolour, but worse than that I was about 5 stone overweight. I just couldn’t use the photo so I picked an older one from 3 years ago that wasn’t representative or technically great, but it worked as a stop gap. It’s not the right thing to do and shortly after I made the effort to lose weight so I could have a photo that looked like myself and I was 100% happy with
2. You’ve had a radical change of image / look i.e glasses / beard / hairstyle / hair colour etc
Alex: My glasses have become part of my look now, but I remember the 1st time I started getting headaches and went to Specsavers. I had visions of the playground 30+ years ago when people with glasses got called Speccy Four Eyes. After I got used to it and felt comfortable with wearing glasses, I knew one thing needed to change. I needed a new LinkedIn headshot to show what I actually look like now. I’d say now when I deliver Social Media Training I often have to double take with the person I’m meeting as their hairstyle or hair colour has changed or in the case of men, they have significantly less hair. Your photo needs to look like you
Martin: I’ve got a session booked with someone because I’m wearing my hair longer than I was doing a year ago. It began as an experiment, but I’ve decided that I like having longer hair and will stick with it for the foreseeable future, so I want my profile to reflect me in 2020. So, it’s time to get a new one! Any future clients will want to get an idea of me before we meet – and as I’m happy with my current look, why wouldn’t I want to share that?
3. Your current one was taken on a smart phone and doesn’t look professional
Martin: I’m a fan of iPhone photography but it just doesn’t cut it for headshots I’m afraid. The best headshot captures a moment; a smile, a look in your eyes; the ‘real you’. The shutter button on a phone is too slow and unresponsive to capture that fleeting moment well enough. Yes, it’s fine for selfies and down the pub moments, but this is neither of those things. This is business. Time to show you mean business and are a professional. That photo of you is the first thing that potential clients will look at when they look you up, so that first impression needs to be the right one doesn’t it?
Alex: I work in Social Media and my headshot for many years was a smart phone photo. Worse than that it was a smart phone photo on an Iphone4 so you can imagine the quality. As a former journalist I’ve learnt from the very best photographers, so the idea and concept behind the shot was actually great, it was just poor execution. I let myself down as it really didn’t look as professional as the professional service I offered. A smart phone is not a replacement for a professional shoot
4. Your current one was taken at a wedding / on holiday and your partner is half on it / half cropped
Martin: It’s like I say above – it’s about showing how professional you are. Of course, you’re entitled to a private life, but the key there is ‘private’. If you mix private and work by posting a photo of you on a sunlounger enjoying a beer ….. are you actually telling me that you are thinking of your holidays when you should be working …….. or that down time is more important than what you do for a living? You’re sending out an unprofessional message; and why would you want to do that?
Alex: I spend so much time supporting others on Social Media that the one place it’s all about myself is the LinkedIn Headshot. No one is sharing the limelight with me on that respect and yet many feel that a cropped wedding photo or one from a night out is suitable for a LinkedIn Headshot. As much as I’m sure your wife or husband are lovely I don’t want to see their ears popping into the edges of your LinkedIn headshot and I’m pretty sure they don’t like their special moment being used to sell to Bob from accounts
5. You feel your current headshot is too stuffy / too informal
Alex: Your headshot should reflect your personality. Look at mine – it’s smiley, friendly and approachable. It’s exactly what I exude in real life. I don’t do overly formal and never will so it’s the right headshot for me
Martin: Don’t mistake ‘professional’ with stuffy or formal. Just like dress codes have relaxed, so has how you look in a professional portrait. If you’re a t-shirts and shorts kind of person, wear those and show off that relaxed personality. It’s all about showing a bit of the real you to the world.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA?
Join us on 29th January for our LinkedIn Profile Perfection Workshop at Altspace – more info here
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Alex McCann is owner of Altrincham HQ – a social media management and training company based in Altrincham, Cheshire that has worked with 100s of local business developing their social media strategy. Alex has 400+ LinkedIn testimonials and is ranked number 1 for Social Media Marketing in the UK via independent customer reviews on Freeindex.