I'm on a mission. A mission to fix the LinkedIn Headshots of Toronto!
It's surprising to find out that with 130 million profiles on LinkedIn, less than 30% have had a professional headshot taken. Even more surprising is seeing some of the pictures the other 70% are using!
Image is everything. You make decisions every day based on what you see. From which shirt to wear for the meeting that morning to which sandwich you pick from the cafe at lunch. You decide things based initially on how they look. It happens incredibly fast and psychologists call it Thin Slicing. What kind of things have people decided about you in that short period? Here is a shortlist of 9 things within seconds of meeting you. I feel many of these knee jerk decisions are also made when first seeing a picture of someone. Your picture that you have up on LinkedIn.
We're going to use your imagination here for a bit. Imagine you've invested countless hours into your start-up business. You've worked on building it up in your spare time after work and on the weekends. You've reached a point where you've grown enough that you've quit your full-time job. You've invested all the money you had and added more money from family and friends. This is your baby, your dream. But you need staff in order to expand, to build, to see your dream take off and become what you've envisioned. You post an ad for someone that can jump in and wear a bunch of hats. Someone that is going to be as passionate about this company as you are. You get some resumes in response to your ad and since 91% of employers check social media, you decide to check out your applicants online before you call them in for an interview. You pick your top choice and see them heading your sales team, interacting with your customers and taking care of their needs. Working with the other sales reps to build a clientèle base that will propel the company to the next level. You pull up his profile on LinkedIn and the first thing you see is this.
Now, be honest. What was the first thing you thought of when you saw this LinkedIn Headshot? Did you see the new head of your sales team? The team responsible for ensuring your new business's survival? I'll tell you what I saw, I saw a resume that is going to the pass pile.
Resumes are fudged and polished all the time. People's behaviour is inherent. People are who they are. This picture tells me that he doesn't really take his career that seriously. He also doesn't really care very much about his self-image. If he doesn't care very much about his own personal business how much care do you think he'll have for your dream?
Your second choice has all the requirements you need. Their experience speaks confidence and competence. You open their LinkedIn profile to take a peek just like you did before and the first thing you see is her LinkedIn Headshot.
Did you get a better feeling this time? Could you see her greeting your customers with professionalism at the conference in New York next month? Did you see her holding a sales team meeting in your new office boardroom and empowering her people? I sure did. Her profile picture caught my attention and urged me to learn more about her. It didn't drive me to run to the hills.
The decision was practically instantaneous, her LinkedIn Headshot gave me the go-ahead to look further into her profile. That is the power of having a professional LinkedIn Headshot. In fact, it's not just about a LinkedIn Headshot but all the other online areas where you do work. Skype, Twitter, Facebook, your companies internal messaging. There are countless places where your image will be the first place others will meet you. Today's reality is that many people will meet you through your online presence before they meet you in person.