Tag Archives: LinkedIn photo

10 steps toward a successful LinkedIn strategy (Part 1)

In our neighborhood no one knows which side of the street to park on when there’s a snowstorm, which prevents the plows from clearing the street properly. The result is a cleared path the width of fish line. My wife and I have deduced that this is because there’s no strategy in place.

business strategy woman

What does the dire condition of my neighborhood during a snowstorm have to do with LinkedIn? Simply this, like a neighborhood without a strategy for a nor’easter, your LinkedIn campaign will not succeed.

Do you have a strategy for your LinkedIn campaign, or is it like the street I live on which requires a snowmobile to negotiate? If you lack a strategy you’ll spin your wheels, get frustrated, and possibly give up on a valuable tool that has the potential to create job opportunities. A plan includes the following:

1. Dedication. I’m a bit of a lunatic when it comes to LinkedIn. One of my colleagues once said I need an intervention and he wasn’t joking. I’m on LinkedIn for an average of one hour a day, 365 days a year—yes, this includes holidays. I’m not advising you to spend this much time on LinkedIn.

However, a dedicated strategy is necessary to stay on your connections’ minds. This is why I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees to dedicate at least four days a week of activity, or for the more dedicated, everyday. Try to share at least two updates a day.

2. Know what you want to do. Are you zeroing in on a specific occupation in a specific industry, or are you willing to take anything? The former is the correct answer. With this in mind, you’ll be able to determine who to best network with. If your goal is to work in public relations at a university, you should connect with people at universities, not retail.

3. Write a great profile. This is a big order and a blog post itself, but having a profile that attracts employers and other visitors to your site will take a strategy. You’ll need a photo that brands you—the days of a suit and tie might be history. Write a branding title that immediately describes what you do, as well as your areas of strength.

Your Summary should tell a story, your Employment section describe quantified accomplishments, and don’t forget using the Media section to highlight your talents. A major part of your plan should be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that includes the correct keywords to raise your profile to the top of the first page.

Read How to brand yourself with the new LinkedIn profile.

4. Update often. This is how you communicate with your LinkedIn community. I get looks of disbelief when I suggest to my LinkedIn workshop attendees that they update once a week. They ask me what topics they should updates about. First, I tell them, share articles they’ve found on the Internet.

Other topics can include seminars or conferences you’re attending; interviews you’ve had; advice pertinent to your industry; a great book you’re reading; a happy landing; even a good quote or two; and, of course, a reminder you’re looking for a job. Just keep it professional and refrain from negativity.

5. Connect with other LinkedIn members. No two LinkedIn members are alike; some prefer to keep their network intimate by connecting with people they know and trust, while others will connect with anyone who’s willing. My suggestion is to have a strategy and be faithful to it. Connect with those who you can help and who can help you—a lot like personal networking.

Expand your horizon. Include people in your occupation, industry, and various levels of employment. There are like-minded people in different industries, so don’t be afraid to invite them to your network. Who knows, maybe opportunities will arise from the most unlikely people.

Read How to brand yourself by connecting with others.


Read part two of this article. In it I’ll discuss five other components necessary for your LinkedIn plan. You need a plan to be successful on LinkedIn.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it!

Photo: Flickr, Sandy Huang

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15 photos that will sink your LinkedIn profile

By now it’s a given that you have a photo on your LinkedIn profile. Without one, you’re as good as an outcast. However, the photos I’ve been seeing lately raise the question, “What are people trying to convey with their photof?” Are they hitting the mark?

angry-woman

What do I mean by this? Take the photo of the woman above. This is not hitting the mark unless she’s trying to appear otherworldly. Her photo does nothing but make me wish I never come in contact with her.

On the other hand, there are photos that are well done and prompt me to click “Like” or, in a few cases, write a comment complimenting the person’s photo for its quality. For example, a photo I show in my LinkedIn workshop prortays professionalism because it is a quality photo and the subject appears friendly, welcoming, and intelligent.

Now before you call me a photo snob, consider how important your photo is and why you shouldn’t slap just any one on your profile.

Photos are important. Our photo makes us memorable and trustworthy. Some, including me, won’t open a profile unless the person is known. According to some, profiles that have a photo are 14 times more likely to be opened than those that don’t.

Photos are part of your branding. The first thing people see on your profile is your photo, so make it count. They can say something positive about your personality; for example, you are caring, serious, creative, authoritative, outgoing and friendly, and so on. I demonstrate photos in my Advanced LinkedIn workshop. One of them is of a New York City photograper. Click here to see how he effective brands himself.

Quality is also important. My close connection, and published photographer, David Machowski says this about a quality photo: “A good headshot is a photograph of one’s face that is first and foremost flattering.  That fact is open to interpretation; but here is where many make the mistake of having their shot with too much detail, too far away, too close, out of focus, eyes not sharp and in focus, too much depth of field (ideally the eyes should be the sharpest point of the photograph).” He could go on forever.

The type of photo you choose is your choice. No one insists that you dress in your best suit and tie, or for you women a suit with a brilliant blouse and conservative jewelry; although that would be nice. You may want to go the route of business casual.   A black and white photo can look very creative or…hide pink hair. 

Photos that are inappropriate? This is really the gist of the issue I have with the onslaught of photos appearing on my LinkedIn homepage. Many of the photos are taken in haste, without forethought and planning, and negatively impact the subject. Some are just plain inappropriate, such as:

  1. The plain ole poor quality, like a blurry photo that appears to be taken with a Polaroid.
  2. The under water effect–this person looks like she’s literally under water.
  3. The selfie taken with a cell phone gives the amusement park mirror effect.
  4. The action shot of someone in his office, playing touch football, or climbing rocks, etc.
  5. The false representation photo of a person 10 years earlier should be a crime.
  6. The half smile or downright frown photo. Hey, people are drawn to happy people.
  7. The purple face or red-eye photo. I’ve seen this and thought there’s no way a person’s face can be purple like this.
  8. The “I’m taken off guard” photo with cinder block background. This does wonders…for a prison shot.
  9. The dating scene photo is one of my favorites. Not. Beautiful women and handsome men are great for dating sites, not LinkedIn.
  10. The “Look, I’m working” photo with the office wall in the background looks like the person is trying too hard.
  11. The bad-ass look, shades and all. This I’ve seen and wondered if the guy was in a gang.
  12. The family portrait. Whose profile is it anyways, yours or your wife and children?
  13. The photo with the person riding his Harley.
  14. The photo of an orangutan. Let’s be serious.
  15. The company logo. There’s a LinkedIn company page for that.

Additional photos suggested by LinkedIn members.

  1. From Rich Grant. The cropped photo. “What’s that random hand on your shoulder?”

I realize LinkedIn is trying to stress the importance of having a photo on your profile, but the annoying photo show is not accomplishing its intention. Or perhaps the people who are declaring their new photo are the ones who are not hitting the mark. Before you post your new photo, make sure it represents you as a professional networker, not a Facebook friend.

Photo, Flickr, Irene Ferrari

4 ways your LinkedIn photo is an impostor

 

Portrait, young business man

How my guilt over being an impostor forced me to change my photo.

Will the real John Smith stand up? You’ve probably seen it before. You see someone’s photo on LinkedIn, you meet him in public, and notice that he barely resembles his photo. A bit older. Somewhat heavier. He’s an impostor.

We’ve all been there. People look significantly different than they’re portrayed on their LinkedIn profile, almost to the point where we don’t recognize them in a crowd of people (one reason to have a photo is to be recognizable). You feel like you’ve been duped…hoodwinked.

An Impostor I met

I tell a story to my LinkedIn workshop attendees about a time when I met the real John Smith (not his real name). Weeks before meeting him I saw his photo on LinkedIn. I thought that the man portrayed on LinkedIn was young and muscular, but when I saw him in person he was older and thin.

Whether out of spite or because it just popped out of my mind, I said, “John, you don’t look anything like your LinkedIn profile.” Shortly after, I noticed that his photo changed to one that was more recent.

The Impostor I am

I experienced the other end of the Impostor Syndrome when I was leading an Advanced LinkedIn workshop. I showed them my profile pointing out that I have a photo, and one attendee told me I look older in person than I do in the photo. Ouch.

I passed off being an Impostor by telling the group I hadn’t had the time, nor resources to get a professional photo taken. It still stung when I was told I look younger in my photo. Maybe it’s because my current photo is at least four years old.

What makes one an Impostor?

Four possible thoughts cross my mind when I encounter an Impostor.

  • He is vain. This is the worst kind in my mind. Pride is listed as one of the 7 deadly sins. Vanity is a form of pride. As my father said, “We enter this world naked and we leave it naked.” As Popeye said, “I Yam What I Yam.” Why should we pretend to be someone different?
  • He doesn’t realize that eventually he’ll be outed (as in my story). I’ve entered many a room where someone says, “Hi Bob.” Not caring much about etiquette, I respond by asking who they are. I learn that they’ve seen me on LinkedIn. It’s flattering, while at the same time a little creepy. People do recognize you on social media, so you will be outed, if you don’t update your profile.
  • He doesn’t realize that honesty is the basis for networking. One point I make in my Advanced LinkedIn workshop is that those who don’t have a photo on their profile will not be trusted as those who do. To gain complete trust, don’t put up a photo of you in college when you’re 20 years beyond those golden years. What does this say about your trustworthiness?
  • He isn’t concerned about branding himself. Your photo is a way to brand yourself in a positive light. It can tell people about your personality; it really can. My photo, old and new, I’ve always felt it tells people that I’m caring and nurturing, and, hopefully, wise. Others can brand people as authoritative, creative, serious, intelligent, etc.

Lately I’ve been struggling with the Impostor Syndrome. You see, I have a photo that is at least four years old. Since getting it taken, I’ve added some wrinkles and gained white facial hair. Oh, I’ve also gained some weight (gulp).

I’m no longer an Impostor

I’d like to say that I haven’t gotten my photo retaking because of financial reasons, but who am I kidding? I haven’t gotten it retaking because I’m vain. I don’t like how I look and don’t want my ugly self being part of my branding—I mean everyone looks so great.

So recently I had a colleague take the photo of the real me. He took it with his own camera in plentiful lighting, and he even blurred the background. I appreciate his willingness to do this, as well as his encouragement, but I’m not too fond of my true image.

Here’s why: the faults I mentioned above show brilliantly clear. His camera is of great quality. He has a steady hand. Basically there’s no excuse for why I look like I do. I guess I’m vain. One of the seven deadly sins. I’m doomed.

So what do I do? Do I continue to go with the older me, or do I present the real me (the photo included)?

If you care to weigh in, I would appreciate it.

First Photo: Flickr, Kathy Tarochione

Photo: Tim O’Connor

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10 reasons why your LinkedIn profile photo is important to me

Adrienne TomI published this post less than a year ago, but the need for a photo on your LinkedIn profile can’t be emphasized enough. 

One day a customer of mine came up to me appearing quite irritated and told me he had sent me an invite on LinkedIn. But I didn’t accept his invite, according to him. I asked him if he wrote a personalized message with his invite. Yes he did. I then asked him if he had a photo. No he didn’t. “Ah,” I said. “That’s why I ignored you.” This is one of my principles, as harsh as it sounds.

While many of my colleagues won’t connect with their customers/clients, I see no reason not to connect as long as my customers embrace the necessity of having a LinkedIn photo. If they don’t embrace it, they’re in for a disappointing LinkedIn campaign. One of my favorite things to say when I’m critiquing a customer’s profile that lacks a photo is, “What’s wrong with this picture?” I know, not very funny.

Jeff SheehanPerhaps I’m getting old and stodgy, but here are 10 reasons why your LinkedIn profile is important to me.

I recognize you. If you only have the default light grey ugly box in the photo area, I have no idea who you are. I’m terrible with names, so a face helps me. I feel closer to you, even if we live 3,000 miles away from each other.

Your photo tells me something about your personality. My photo tells people that I’m caring, sincere, and friendly. All of this is true. I’m assuming your photo would say what kind of person you are, creative, authoritative, welcoming, etc.

AntonYou’ve gone though the effort to have a professional photo taken of you. One of my jobseekers told me he had his photo taken for $50. This told me that, despite not having the resources, he felt that having a photo is important.

You know that having a photo will increase your chances of your profile being opened. I’m conservative when I tell my LinkedIn workshop attendees that their chances of getting their profile opened and read increases by 7 times. Some estimates are as high as 14.

You understand the importance of branding. It was commonly believed that a LinkedIn photo was either highly professional or business casual. Now people are breaking boundaries by posting photos that reflect what they do. Take a look at one of my connections (above left) who understands this concept.

Stevie PuckettOn the other hand…your photo is not inappropriate. Some that come to mind are those you’d post on Facebook where you’re captured partying, or you’re with family on the beach, or you’re using LinkedIn as a dating site.

You realize LinkedIn is a networking application, not your resume which doesn’t include a photo. LinkedIn members feel more comfortable networking with people we can see.

You’ve gotten over yourself. I’ll be the last to say that age discrimination doesn’t exist but it’s less prevalent than you think and employers are more suspicious when they don’t see your photo. Besides, who would want to work for someone who judges you on your age.

Hank BoyerYou’ve taken that step toward online networking. Scary, huh? For some of you it was enough to simply get online, but now you’re being told–by not only me–you need to disclose your identity. I salute those of you who are making that step, albeit a reluctant one.

Your photo is about you, not your company. Talk about not trusting someone. That’s how I feel when someone presents themselves as their company logo. The profile is about you and not your company–that’s why there are LinkedIn company pages.

When it comes to the LinkedIn photo, I want to know what people look like. I guess it’s as simple as that. That ugly light grey box is disconcerting to say the least; it says to me, “I’ve got something to hide.” If I’ve got nothing to hide, why should you?


Top left, Adrienne Tom

Second to right, Jeff Sheehan

Third to left, Anton Brookes

Fourth to right, Stevie Puckett

Fifth to Left, Hank Boyer

3 ways LinkedIn is the perfect place to tell your story–part 1 of 2

My son loves to hear a story I tell about the “Perfect Place,” an isolated area with climbing rocks and meadows that seemed to span for miles. He is taken by how 10 of my neighborhood friends—probably more like five—would journey to The Perfect Place and hang out to watch cows graze, climb trees, and how we once tried to build a tree house.

LinkedIn-is-the-PerfectThen there was this time when we saw a wild dog and ran from it until we reached our homes miles away—more like a quarter of a mile. My son likes this part of the story the most.

What does my Perfect Place story have to do with the LinkedIn profile? Everything; LinkedIn gives us the opportunity to tell our story. If done right, it will capture the visitors’ attention and keep them on your profile. But done poorly, it will send them away.

Your photo is the first place to tell your story. I appreciate a person’s photo, especially one that is professionally done. Not a “selfie” like my daughter is constantly taking with my phone. Professional or business casual photos are acceptable as long as they contain only you. A nice head/shoulder shot helps me recognize my connections.

In addition, a photo tells visitors about a person’s character. It tells whether the person is sensitive and caring, serious, authoritative, friendly and outgoing, creative, reflective, etc. The eyes can say it all in many cases, or maybe it’s the wide grin. Note: I read that profiles with photos are 7 times MORE LIKELY to be viewed than those without.

Your story continues in the Summary. The LinkedIn profile Summary puts your story into words, and the limit on words—2,000 characters—isn’t all that restrictive. An interesting story is told in first person. While some prefer third person, most agree it makes the Summary seem stiff and unfriendly.

My workshop attendees ask me what constitutes a story, so I ask, “What is your passion? Tell me about your accomplishments. Where do you want your career to go? How do your combined skills contribute to your career? What is your philosophy? What are your greatest areas of strength?” These are just some of the topics you can discuss.

My Summary starts with: “Bob, I landed a job. Thanks for your knowledge and moral support.” These are words I hear often. Do I hear them enough? No. I’ll be happy when increasingly more people land jobs and tell me the words I live to hear.

Continue telling your story in the Experience section. Begin each job with a statement that describes your role or mission at that position. Why were you hired or promoted to the position? What makes you unique and better than the rest? Do you have a unique selling proposition (USP)? to state in the first paragraph?

I begin my story in my current position with a statement about my role: “I’m more than a workshop facilitator; I’m a career strategist who constantly thinks of ways to better market my customers in their career search. My goal is to provide the career center’s customers, as well as the staff, with the latest career-search strategies.”

These are just three places on your LinkedIn profile where you can tell your story. Although not as dramatic as the story I tell my son about the Perfect Place, your story will be authentic and keep your viewers on you profile. Read the next post that addresses the Media, Interests, and Recommendations sections.  

One example of how a photo effectively brands a person

AntonOne of my LinkedIn connections, Anton Brookes, sports a photo on his profile that prompts me to say to my LinkedIn workshop attendees, “Now this is a kick ass photo.” They give pause and nod in approval. Previously I told my folks that there are acceptable photos for a LinkedIn profile and there are others that are not.

Acceptable photos, I’d tell them, are ones that are highly professional or business casual; after all, LinkedIn is “the world’s largest professional network.” Unacceptable photos are everything else.

Anton’s photo is neither highly professional or business casual, but it proves as an excellent example of how the photo can catapult your personal branding.

I’m not the photo Czar–never claimed to be–but I feel strongly about how one should display his/her image on their LinkedIn profile. And I certainly believe that a profile without a photo is like a car without wheels.

Your photo serves to make you memorable and can reveal a lot about your personality. Further, it has been quoted that people trust photos and are seven times more likely to open a profile that has a photo. I agree with this statement, as I rarely open profiles that lack a photo.

The photo in question says a lot about this photographer whose branding headline reads: Owner | Fashion/Lifestyle and Street Photographer at Mock Turtle Moon. It describes what he does, while his photo supports more of the street photographer side of his business.

Homless woman

Anton’s photo speaks volumes about his expertise as a street photographer. It tells us that he’s for real and living his job, comfortable in his setting. It’s gritty and by no means pretty. It transports us to the streets of New York City. But most important, we get the sense that this photographer is knowledgeable of his trade.

A suit and tie or a button-down shirt wouldn’t have the same effect; it wouldn’t brand him nearly as well as the one he sports on his profile. Not by a mile.

I’ve told Anton that his photo helps me point out to my LinkedIn workshop attendees the importance of having a photo that brands a person, and for selfish reasons I hope he doesn’t change it. But if he decides he needs to portray himself as some one else, I’m sure he’d know how to do that.


If you’d like to see a short documentary on Anton Brookes filmed by Aljazeera America, click this link.

2 differences between the Résumé and LinkedIn Profile–Part 1

resume linkedinI tell attendees of my Advanced LinkedIn workshop, “Your LinkedIn profile is not your résumé.” It’s important for me to say this, as some of their LinkedIn profiles resemble their résumé. I can spot a copy-and-paste a mile away.

A LinkedIn “résumé” gives off a generic look rather than a unique document that makes LinkedIn a powerful tool for the job search. Potential employers are not looking for a rehash of your résumé; they’re looking for more, another look.

Let’s examine two differences between the résumé and profile.

The most obvious difference between the résumé and LinkedIn profile is the Photo. Because LinkedIn is a networking application and the résumé is a job search document, here is one major difference. A photo on your LinkedIn profile is necessary, as it enhances your brand. It may tell visitor you’re creative, sincere and compassionate, a leader, ambitious, serious, etc.

As well, a profile with a photo is more trustworthy and memorable. A recent statistic states that a profile with a photo is seven times more likely to be opened.  I for one will not open a profile if it lacks a photo, unless it’s someone I know.

I tell my attendees that despite their fear of age discrimination, a photo is necessary to network. Imagine attending a networking event where people walk around with a paper bag on their head. Not very personal.

The headline is second on the list of differences between the résumé and LinkedIn profile. An Advanced résumé must have a branding headline that immediately tells potential employers that you are the right person for the job. The headline is a simple line or two of what you do and some of your areas of strength. Here’s an example of a position-specific branding title:

Marketing Specialist 

Public Relations ~ Vendor Relations ~ Staff Supervision ~ Web Design ~ Event Coordination

Look at another branding headline that is written for a similar job:

Marketing Coordinator

Social Media | Trade Shows | International Travel | Increased Production | Graphic Design

Your LinkedIn profile has a branding headline that is similar to your résumé’s headline, save for the fact the profile isn’t written for a specific job. It needs to include more general skills/keywords. You may choose to use a branding statement instead. The same position may resemble this:

Marketing Specialist with expertise in Public Relations, Trade Shows, Vendor Relations, Web Content,
Event Coordination;
leading to increased visibility and profitability for your company.

Furthermore, the branding headline adds to the keyword count for those whose résumé will be sent through an applicant tracking system (ATS). As well it makes being found on LinkedIn more possible with key skills of your occupation and industry/ies.

In the next post, we’ll look at the differences between the résumé’s Core Competencies and the LinkedIn Skills and Expertise sections.