Why you have to update your professional photo
How often do you update your professional photo?
You know the adage about the importance of first impressions, and these days that includes online, so do you need to update your professional photo?
I was recently invited to connect on LinkedIn. As I get so many dodgy requests I always take time to check out the profile. This particular gentleman seemed OK on paper, but something didn't jive. He graduated in 1996, which would make him in his early 40's. His photo was that of a much younger man maybe late 20's or early 30's. A Google image search, which I have already told you about, produced a generic "gentleman" result.
So what was I to deduce?
- He was a child prodigy
- His profile was fake
- He hadn't taken the time update his profile picture
- He made a mistake on his graduation year
The end result was I didn't connect.
Key ingredients of a good biz pic
- This should feature strong head and shoulders, preferably smiling and looking to camera, dressed appropriately for your target audience and in line with your professional activity.
- Make sure you update your professional photo regularly, every 2-3 years at the most.
- It should reflect how you look on a daily basis — your hair, glasses, makeup, and so on. If you have changed any element of your appearance deliberately - hair style or colour or glasses, change your picture.
- You can't stop the ageing process or weight gains or losses, which are usually the main concerns for women, but you can learn to make the most of it for a professional photo. LinkedIn currently offers six filters that you can apply to your profile picture, each of which will give your photo a slightly different look and feel. Experiment and find one that suits you. The Spotlight and Classic filters, for example, can make your photo look sharper. But don’t photo-shop so you are unrecognisable when someone meets you for the first time.
- Your face should fill about 60% of the space. Crop the picture from the top of your shoulders to just above your head so that your face fills the frame.
- Avoid: pictures in a group, with animals/kids/partners, wearing sunglasses, hats, ski-helmets etc. or doing something that is unrelated to your profession.
Embrace who you are
Over the weekend I had a coaching session with a client who was updating her LinkedIn profile. She has gone through a difficult time over the past years. Part of coming to terms with her situation, healing and moving forward will be for her to summon up the courage to update her professional photo. She isn't ready yet and can't bring herself to do that. The image she has is about six years old, when she was in a better place, and she does look different now. By holding on to her old photo, she is also clinging on to her past.
It's important to embrace who you are. If in doubt, invest in a professional photo shoot. It's fun and worth the investment. For those in the Brussels area, I always recommend the wonderful Ralitza Soultanova.
When recruiters look at a LinkedIn profile they only take 6 seconds to look at the first section. 20% of that time is on the photo. Make those seconds count!
Do you know how to dress to impress? Contact 3Plus for an Introductory Professional Image Consultation.
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