You should replace Your Smartphone Photo with Professional Headshots on Linkedin.
So a couple of months back I signed into LinkedIn for the first time in years. I was stunned to see that it looked a lot like Facebook. The look of the platform had completely changed since I first joined and, in my opinion, for the better. I felt like I actually knew what to do on LinkedIn now and how to interact with my connections.
I realized that tons of people I knew had tried to connect with me over the years but I'm pretty sure I spammed LinkedIn emails a while back and that's why I didn't see them until now (disclaimer). I started going through them and other suggested connections and I was astounded at how many professionals and entrepreneurs were using cell phone photos as professional profile photos. Nevermind the ones where they just cropped their own face out of a photo with friends. Whoa. I thought Maybe they're just not active on LinkedIn and don't care what their profile looks like. I get it. I wasn't on LinkedIn for years until just now and my profile was very outdated. I move past that thought and start reading to see what everyone's been up to.
I came to a couple of realizations once I was through.
1. I saw that many profiles do have professional headshots.
2. I tended to only be clicking on profiles that had professional headshots, skipping over most of the others.
3. Even those who were active on LinkedIn and in prominent positions were going without a professional photo and it was throwing me off big time. Even business owners!
"Whether for a social profile or your company’s website, the quality and style of your headshot conveys a lot about you as a person and signals how you conduct business. ... The type of photo that’s right for your business is a branding decision, but regardless of the business you are in, a blurry or poorly cropped picture conveys a sense a sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail that carries over to your organization’s reputation."
This day in age our online presence, including our social profiles, can make or break us. It could decide whether you get that position, next sale or client, or the other guy does. Even if you are currently in a career you love and aren't looking to change companies, there's no knowing who might be scouting you out for a more interesting, better-paying opportunity. There are so many reasons you should not go a day without a solid, professional presence especially on a platform such as LinkedIn.
Did you know that in Germany a headshot is required as a part of your resume?
You, your image, and your interests can be just as important as your skills when it comes to landing the job of your dreams. When a company is looking to take on a new team member and pay them lots of money, they want to know who they are bringing in and how you will be representing them. If you were applying for your dream job at Trek you'd want to include a clean, professional image of yourself showing some kind of interest in bikes, wearing attire that is relevant to their company and its culture. Not an iPhone photo taken by your girlfriend at the last wedding you attended. Who you are, what you do in your free time, and how you present yourself on social media platforms could significantly set you apart from the rest of the applicants.
So I had to ask, and I did. On my Facebook page I polled,
What is keeping you from having a professional headshot?
And you all answered:
Too expensive, and too time consuming.
And born was the Drop-In Headshot Day.
I decided that twice a month I would spend the day in the studio ready to take on quick portrait sessions for anyone who stopped in. Professionals, business owners, real estate agents, salesmen... Anyone could drop in on their lunch break or whenever they found free time in their day, no appointment needed, and have a new headshot without breaking the bank. They would spend a few minutes being photographed, choose their favorite image right on the spot, and have their shiny new headshot sent directly to their inbox within 24 hours.
And let's just get one thing straight. Headshots don't have to be stuffy, superposed, and rigid. This photo is meant to convey who you are as a person, so your personality should shine through. If you a serious, determined, hardworking individual and that's how you got to where you are today, then, by all means, be photographed that way. But if you're a bubbly, bright, talkative person then you're going to want to showcase that side of you. Again, potential employers and even those who might be seeking you out as a mentor want to know who they're contacting. They want to know what you are all about! Have fun with it and let this be a chance to show your true colors.
Have an extra $99 to invest in your career and 30 minutes to spare? Problem solved, people. The reasons have been given and the obstacles have been addressed. Technically speaking, our online presence (including our LinkedIn profile) should be considered our digital storefront and baby, you are the main commodity. We are not mailing in resumes these days; we are being scouted and our profiles scoured. If your LinkedIn profile is being passed by because the first thing a potential client sees (your photo) isn't appealing then you've already lost the opportunity. You aren't even being considered. Game over. Don't be that guy. Be game. Just do it.
I sincerely hope that this post has helped you move in the direction of booking yourself a much-deserved headshot session.
You deserve it!