What do tuxedos, strapless dresses, bar scenes, beaches, and outdoor parties have in common? They've all been the accompaniment to some amazingly casual LinkedIn photos.
You're probably aware that a professional presence on LinkedIn can either facilitate or undermine your executive job search - but you might not know that the headshot you choose is an important part of your personal brand.
Here are strong reasons to keep your LinkedIn photo toned-down and reasonably professional:
1 - Your future boss or co-workers will be checking you out here.
(No, not like that.) They'll want to learn about you prior to the interview, and before you come into the office on your first day. In fact, you'll notice a spike in your Profile Visitor hit rate just before these events.
A LinkedIn photo that exudes executive confidence and professionalism will set the tone for your first meetings, while a too-informal one can cast doubt on your fitness for a leadership job.
2 - Recruiters are trying to decide if you're a presentable candidate.
In the digital age, a LinkedIn page may be all an executive recruiter (who is talking to you from across the country, or world, for that matter) has to go by before setting you up for an interview.
Nothing says "pass me by" faster than cocktail attire, or that relaxed look on your face as you hoist a cool one with your friends - even if you've taken the time to craft a strong executive brand message throughout your Profile.
3 - Potential networking contacts are sizing you up for a connection.
You may be issuing status updates that show you're at the top of your professional game, or joining in Groups discussions about your leadership philosophy.
However, these activities are not what others will see first. Instead, they'll form an opinion based on the message sent by your photo - before even thinking about what you wrote.
Don't discourage them by presenting your private, non-work persona over your professional one!
So, take another look at your LinkedIn photo with a critical eye. Just because it shows you looking great (at your cousin's wedding or that after-work party) doesn't mean it will automatically convey your professional acumen.
You'll benefit from investing in yourself with either a professionally created headshot, or a photo taken in a neutral setting. All you'll need is a suit, a camera-bearing friend, and a confident smile to boost your executive opportunities on LinkedIn.
Executive resume expert Laura Smith-Proulx, CCMC, CPRW, CIC, TCCS, CPBA, COPNS is an award-winning Executive Resume Writer and former recruiter with a 98% success rate opening doors to prestigious jobs through compelling personal branding. The Executive Director of An Expert Resume (http://www.anexpertresume.com), she partners exclusively with C-level, SVP, and Director candidates.
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