I Did Not Connect with You on LinkedIn Because of Your Facebook Picture

facebook picture on linkedinLinkedIn is LinkedIn and Facebook is Facebook. They are two different venues, environments and interactions. Facebook is the silly, personal side. LinkedIn is the business side.

I am not going to belabor the point of mixing behavior between the two. This article is only about the profile picture, and why using a Facebook type picture on LinkedIn is preventing you from expanding your business network.

I have read many articles stating that it takes seven seconds to make a first impression – but that is if you are having an interaction. Seven seconds in meeting someone face to face or seeing their body language. How quickly do we form an impression based on a photo?

As little as 1/10 of a second.

That is what was found in a series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov. It only takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face. Click this link to read the full, fascinating article: How Many Seconds to a First Impression by Eric Wargo on Association for Psychological Science.

Here is a list of photos that I have seen that close doors on LinkedIn:

  • Wedding photos
  • Data nights – including your date and the food
  • Bar buddies – you all look like you are having a good time, plenty of cocktails and which one are you?
  • Phantom hands on shoulders – cropping the rest of the other people out, but not those hands
  • All decked out in favorite sport team gear – jersey, face paint, Mardi Gras beads
  • Holding or surrounded by children
  • Cartoons – either a meme or a characterization of yourself, perhaps ok if you are a cartoonist
  • Car shots with seat belts and back seats
  • Up the nose selfie – holding the phone at such a low angle that the inside of your nose is most prominent
  • Painful, angry or confused – not sure if the picture took, well dressed mug shot or it hurts to smile
  • Showing off favorite toys – motorcycles, cars, boats and this has nothing to do with your business
  • Are you in the shot? shots – vacation shots, dog shots, fun in the sun shots where you are merely a speck among the scenery
  • The future is so bright I gotta wear shades
  • Looking cool selfie with a full view and prominence of your arm
  • And the honest to goodness bathroom selfie complete with the shower curtain, sink and holding the phone in front of your chest

All of the above are fine on Facebook, but what value do they convey about you as a business person?  What value does your child, dog, toy, sunglasses or bathroom give your business (unless it is directly related)? My dogs are extremely photogenic and just so darn cute, but having them in my profile picture does not speak to me or my value as a career and business coach.

In other words, in the business world no one cares about those lovely attributes of your personal life unless they bring value to them as a connection, customer or prospective employer.

What comprises a good photo, one that will open doors? It is a matter of five elements:

  1. Expression – Smile. It does not have to be a full on toothy number, but at least look approachable and open. When getting your picture taken, instead of a forced smile, think of something that makes you grin – a funny line in a movie, something cute your child did, hearing praise from your boss – anything that brings a natural, genuine smile to your face without going into full out laughter.
  2. Clothing – Dress for where you want to go or what represents who you are professionally in a business casual sense. Business relaxed, not the corporate suit and tie head shot unless that is the image you and your company want to portray.
  3. Background – This is a backdrop, not the most important element of the picture; it should not be distracting or inappropriate. It does not have to be in an office environment, however, it should be the last thing someone focuses on in your photo.
  4. Proportion – Your head and shoulders should take up at least 60% of the frame, we want to see you!
  5. Likeness – The picture should be somewhat current and look like you, over the age of 40 no high school photos or glamour shots.

Unless in that 1/10 of a second you convey you are about business prospective clients, connections or employers will not take the time to accept your invitation or read your profile. LinkedIn is for business, it is all about making connections, adding value, expanding your networks and knowledge – if your picture is closing those doors you are missing the greatest of opportunities.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

LinkedIn Profile Pictures – This is NOT Facebook!

Takeing picture

I am just going to say what other people are thinking when looking at profile pictures that should not be LinkedIn profile pictures: (warning, sarcasm ahead)

My kid is cuter than yours
My dogs are more adorable than your fur-baby
Oh look, you can still fit in your formal
Your significant other is in your picture, did they tell you what to wear, too?
Image cropping, it is a beautiful thing
Am I supposed to know who you are in that crowd of people?
Still haven’t figured out how to load a picture, huh?
I didn’t think anyone kept their 80’s glamourshots
Dude, seriously, smile – it’s not that bad
Does your mother know you posted that picture?

We are a visual society, we make first impressions quickly and they are normally based on a visual assessment.  Right or wrong, it is what it is.

An appropriate picture on LinkedIn establishes you as a real person and conveys your brand image and messaging.  It is the reader’s first impression of you – make it a good one.

You may hate getting your picture taken, sorry, this is a necessary evil for you.

LinkedIn research has shown that a page with a profile picture is seven times as likely to be viewed as a page without one and it helps push your profile to 100% completeness.

Here are the considerations you want to make when selecting a LinkedIn profile picture:

  • Have a photo of you and you alone – without attempting to crop someone out of the picture
  • It actually looks like you, the recent you not 10 years ago you
  • It appropriately reflects your industry, position or company environment (dress for the job you want)
  • It appropriately conveys your energy and presence
  • Good posture, a smile and open eyes – be inviting
  • You, your presence and your smile should be the first things noticed, not your wardrobe
  • The background is just that – background, nothing to overpowering or distracting

I find it best to have someone else take your picture, someone who can put you at easy and make you laugh during several takes.  You will come across as more genuine, real and open.  Take several shots to allow you to determine which truly represents you in an instant.

–Lisa

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Photo by Viktor Hanacek

Two Similar Hells: Online Dating and Job Searching

Computer FlowersDisclaimer: This article could contain inappropriate assumptions, sarcasm and language.  If you take offense to any of these, it is probably best if you just stop reading now.  No really, stop now; and I apologize to my mother in advance.  This is my fun day, in my little world I am having fun with the topic today.

On my list of unpleasant experiences online dating and job searching are certainly ranked up there.  As are root canals, surgery without the use of anesthesia, being trapped in a room of three year old on a sugar high, cleaning up dog poop and stomach flu.

I’m a list person, I have lists of everything.  To-do, never do again, goals, chores, things for which I am grateful and unpleasant things.  The unpleasant things list may just be in my head, but it exists.

I will give online dating the advantage though; when you are job searching the odds of receiving unkind messages, comments and emails from strangers is much less.  So in my opinion, online dating is a worse hell.

One girl told me she got an unsolicited, very unkind comment from someone on her dating profile in which they compared her physical appearance to that of man’s best friend.  Seriously.  No prospective employer sends you back an email similar to, “Just wanted to let you know that there is no way we will be calling you back.”

Before anyone gets all cranky, I know there are many people who met that special someone online.  To be fair, many people get jobs though job searching too, but that doesn’t make it a happy experience.

The similarities

Profile pictures

If you want a better response, both the online dating world and LinkedIn recommend you have a photograph of yourself.  I am not one that likes pictures of myself so in either case this is a torturous task.

In either case, please for the love of everything holy do not take a selfie in the bathroom!  No one, and I repeat this with all the fervor I can muster I pounding on my keyboard, no one wants to see your bathroom mirror or any part of your bathroom!  Ever.

A professional headshot is most appropriate for LinkedIn.  As far as dress, think of business casual for the most part, on rare occasions the suit and tie is appropriate.  For online dating, well, gentlemen if you are over 40 and no longer have that high school football physic then tank tops are not your friend.  Ladies, I am going to put this as delicately as I can by quoting a yourcard: dressing immodestly is like rolling around in manure; yes, you will get attention, but mostly from pigs.

It is important to choose just the right picture that will attract the right types of dates and prospective employers.

The profile

Too much about you

Oh, the wonderful lies we weave.  Nearly every woman I ever hear talk about online dating says the same thing is in almost every male profile: no drama.  Is that really necessary?  Is there any guy out there that wants drama?  Isn’t that an assumed?  Isn’t that like saying on your resume that you expect to be paid for the job?

To be fair here, guys, most women tell what they want you to do for them in saying what they like.  How you can earn their affection by where you take them and what you do for them rather than what qualities they bring to a potential relationship for you.  That is like opening your resume with “I am looking for a job that will allow me to use my skills and advance my career.”  It’s not all about you.

Representing yourself

Write your profile in your voice, true to you about what you have to offer.  There is nothing worse for a prospective employer to receive an outstanding resume, set up an interview and the individual in person/on the phone is a complete dude.  It leads to confusion, they wonder which one are you.  Similar to proclaiming yourself to be about 6’ tall and works out all the time when in reality you haven’t tipped the scales over 5’8” and your idea of vegetables are potato chips.

Honesty

Do not lie in your resume.  It will be found out. Same with your online dating profile, it will be found out, period.  Just do not do it, you lose all credibility no matter what good you have done to that point.

The job posting

Read the damn thing, please.  If someone posts that they prefer certain aspects and you either do not have those aspects or are completely contradictory – do not respond.  That is like applying for a medical position in which you have no experience but have watched ER, Greys Anatomy or Chicago Hope so you have a pretty good idea about hospitals and you know you can win them over with your stellar personality.

If you do not meet the most basic, core, essential job qualifications please do not waste their time – an employers or potential date.  Why set yourself up for rejection?  Stop it.

The interview

Or the first date in dating.  Normally you are not going to get a job offer in the first five minutes of your first interview, just like you are not going to get a marriage proposal in the first five minutes of that first date – if you do, run.  This is a process.  This is when the person across the table is sizing you up to see if you really are all that you proclaimed to be.

Later in the date and interview they get to the point of determining if you are a good fit for their company or life.  This includes assessing things like if you would get along with your coworkers and bosses, would they want to introduce you to the family or would they lie to their friends if they ran into them while you were on a date and try to completely cover the fact that they are there by their own accord.

The instant relationship

If you find that after one date you are not being referred to in a manner of significant other or you received an offer of employment in the first five minutes – you should really evaluate this.  Why are they so desperate to hire so quickly without getting to know you?  Is there a high turnover rate in that position?  You should find out why to evaluate if you want to accept the offer.

Job searching and dating can be fun – if you are interviewing/pursuing the right job or dating the right person.  It may take time to find that right person; however, in the meantime, do not diminish yourself to fit the sub standards of what you have found so far.  The right job or person is out there and can be found if you:

  • Know your value – what do you bring to the table?
  • Clearly state your value – how can you bring your value to the benefit of others, demonstrate rather than state; telling me you are a nice person means nothing, prove it.
  • Have a baseline of your needs, expectations and goals – if you do not know what you want how can anything fit the bill?
  • Be flexible to opportunities that offer these things – even if they are not like jobs you have had or people you have dated in the past
  • Remain positive and open – tomorrow is a new day, your perfect mate or job has not been run over by a bus
  • Keep trying – there are a lot of toads out there professionally and personally, the more you kiss you are that much closer to the right one
  • Network – be seen, meet new people, get to know them from the friend perspective/what you can do for them in a business perspective before you jump to picking out rings or 401(k) options
  • Keep your humor – be able to share and laugh about your experiences with a good friend, having wine on hand is good too

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer
www.CareerPolish.com