The do’s and don’ts of Linkedin

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

NEVER un­der­es­ti­mate the value of a pro­file pic­ture on Linkedin. How you choose to present your­self in that tiny square says, if not nec­es­sar­ily a thou­sand words, cer­tainly quite a bit to po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers, part­ners and clients. Yes, your re­sume is im­por­tant, but as with any real-world en­counter, it’s the photo that makes that cru­cial first im­pres­sion.

De­spite this, Linkedin is lit­tered with ter­ri­ble, em­bar­rass­ing, poorly lit and com­posed pro­file pic­tures. By this point, Linkedin’s ca­reer ex­pert Catherine Fisher and pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­pher Don­ald Bow­ers have seen a wide va­ri­ety of vi­o­la­tions.

Here, they share a few do’s and don’ts.

Do have a pro­file pic­ture. This seems so ob­vi­ous but there are peo­ple who still use the Linkedin de­fault blue sil­hou­ette, and that’s a prob­lem says Fisher. The sim­ple act of adding a photo in­creases your visibility on Linkedin by a fac­tor of 14, so if you’ve gone to the trou­ble of mak­ing a Linkedin ac­count, there’s no ex­cuse not to upload a photo.

Don’t for­get the con­text. Linkedin is a plat­form for pro­fes­sion­als, so un­less you are a vet­eri­nar­ian, never in­clude your pet, Fisher says. She sees far too many dogs and cats on the site, along with this re­peat of­fender: pho­tos marred by the in­tru­sion of seem­ingly dis­jointed limbs, the casualty of ag­gres­sive crop­ping. And un­less you are a swim­suit model, “don’t take a photo of your­self in your bikini,” Fisher says. “Please. Let’s keep it pro­fes­sional.”

Do think about the light­ing. If you can’t af­ford to spring for a pro­fes­sional, have a friend pho­to­graph you, first set­ting up the light source to his or her im­me­di­ate left or right, Bow­ers says. As op­posed to a di­rect flash, which tends to “flat­ten and wash you out,” side light­ing will pro­vide a more mod­eled look. While Bow­ers rec­om­mends shoot- ing Linkedin pro­file pic­tures in­doors against ei­ther a grey or white back­ground, if you are go­ing for an out­door shot avoid mid­day, when the over­head light cre­ates prob­lem­atic shad­ows.

Don’t be too for­mal or in­for­mal. Not ev­ery­one’s Linkedin pic­ture should look the same. While head­shots work for most pro­fes­sions, it’s im­por­tant to tai­lor your pic­ture’s style to the type of job you are ap­ply­ing for. “Ask your­self, ‘what would the peo­ple at that com­pany be wear­ing?’“Fisher says. The an­swer to that will vary widely, depend­ing on both the in­dus­try and the com­pany.

Do con­sider hir­ing a pro­fes­sional pho

tog­ra­pher. A pro­fes­sional head­shot is an in­vest­ment, one that can of­ten be used for up to five years, says Bow­ers. He typ­i­cally charges $200 for a one-hour ses­sion, although group rates of­ten ap­ply. You’re not just pay­ing for the light­ing and com­po­si­tion, how­ever.

Af­ter the photo ses­sion, Bow­ers will re­touch one head­shot. Stress and sleep de­pri­va­tion are things “that hap­pen to us all,” but with some sub­tle air­brush­ing, Bow­ers can min­i­mize splotchy skin and eye bags. “You can fake. I can fix it up,” he says re­as­sur­ingly. Re­touch­ing “helps a lot. It can make you look five years younger. And for a first im­pres­sion…that can some­times be very im­por­tant.” — En­tre­pre­neur

How you choose to present your­self says a lot to po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers.

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