The first thing people will look at when perusing your LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Bio on the company website is the image you have put there. In that split second they will probably make a decision whether or not you are the kind of person they want to make a connection with. What follows in your profile is certainly important in forming that connection but there is no doubt that your profile image made a huge impression one way or the other.
The internet has transformed how people communicate and build relationships. It’s about connections. It is commonplace for a potential client to do research on you before doing business and put a face to the name. Putting a professional and approachable headshot of you online will help them make that connection.
Personal branding is no longer viewed as a luxury. Professionals in all job functions now realize the value of personal branding in pushing their career to the next level. It is essential to build and communicate this brand to make connections and build strong and lasting working relationships. Nowhere is this more evident than in the incredible growth of LinkedIn. Think about it…your LinkedIn profile page is your personal brand. From your work history to education to skills–it’s all your story. The very first item that anyone perusing your profile will look at is your picture. If your profile picture is less than stellar your story just took a turn for the worse.
YOU are your brand. Your HEADSHOT is your brand…make sure it says the right thing.
William Arruda, dubbed the personal branding guru by Entrepreneur, recently listed the value of a quality headshot as one of the top 12 personal branding trends or must-do’s. Arruda goes on to state that the absolute best place to start your branding effort is to have a professional headshot that defines your brand and has the ability to make a connection.
I recently spent an hour on LinkedIn looking through countless profile pictures and what I saw was astonishing. They ranged from
- The eye-popping, deer in the headlights look
- The life of the party smile so big it literally takes half of the image
- The “working” headshot on the phone or speaking at a conference with a microphone in your hand
- The outside a building shot with the address number on the building larger than person’s head
- The I’m wearing sunglasses on an island somewhere shot
- The out-of-focus shot taken in 2005 with a point-and-shoot
- The casual full body action shot sitting on a couch with your laptop
- The 1970’s Sears mottled gray or green background shot
- The overly retouched glamour shot that bears no resemblance to the real person
10. The cropped photo of you with another person’s ear in the shot
I could go on and on. Take 10 minutes and scroll through your connections or search for new ones. I guarantee if you haven’t laughed or chuckled you at least will be smiling when done.
Your HEADSHOT, whether it’s on the Bio page of your website or LinkedIn, is your online business card. Let’s face it, the abundance of choices in any business makes hitting the right notes more important than ever. If you need a refresh or don’t even have a headshot (40% of LinkedIn profiles inexcusably have none), seek out a professional photographer that knows how to get the best you out of you.
One place to start looking is www.ph2pro.com, a website dedicated to training the best headshot photographers worldwide run by Peter Hurley. If you are in the St. Louis area, check out my headshot portfolio at www.randallkahn.com and then email or give me a ring.
St. Louis Headshot Photographer