In today's jobs market your social media profiles go before you. The impression you create starts well before you submit your CV. Gail Kenny shares her thoughts.
I spend many hours trawling through profiles on LinkedIn and feel compelled to write this article about the images that people use on their profiles. Many of them make me laugh, including the guy wearing a suit with a spade in his hand in the middle of his garden, and the other chap with a huge stein of beer, a smug look on his face and the foam from the beer fresh around his chops! LinkedIn is of course designed for professional networking, and unless these two examples are I gave are working for the Royal Horticultural Society or running a beirceller in Bavaria, they just don’t seem very appropriate to me. Please save your smug selfies for your Facebook, Instagram or Tinder account! I am not suggesting that you should have a professional photographer take you in your Sunday best, but it does need to be relatively grown-up. It doesn’t have to be too serious or intense – instead, have a nice relaxed smile, which makes you seem more approachable.
Absolute No No’s in my book are: photos holding an alcoholic drink, your wedding photo (you wouldn’t believe the number of wedding shots in full bridal gown that I have seen), full body shots, or my favourite is when you crop out your other half in your photo. Girls, if you have to post your favourite shot in your ball gown, ensure we can see more than just your bare shoulders and I even saw a photo the other day (not going to name and shame this travel industry veteran) where he was actually standing behind his colleague – what does that say about you – that you are not the front runner or prefer to take a back seat!
Finally, the faceless picture! Why?!! According to LinkedIn, people are far more likely to click on your profile if you have a photo uploaded. A blank profile can indicate a lack of confidence or even just pure laziness.
To summarise – profile images should be clear, focused, honest and appeal to a professional audience.