Straight Answers to Real Questions
Question: I’m the Director of Finance of a specialty foods distributor in Mississauga and I’ve recently concluded that I need to get my resume together and start putting some feelers out on the market. It’s not urgent, but I’m getting the sense that my company’s owners are starting to think about finding a strategic buyer and I don’t want to take a chance of being a casualty of any future transition.
I’ve been advised that since I’m going to be on the job market that I need to update my LinkedIn profile. I’ve been working on my profile, filling in the blanks and beefing up my current and previous positions and according to LinkedIn, my profile strength is now “Expert” – up from “Beginner” when I started this exercise.
If I want to get to “All-Star” status, I need to add a profile picture. Which raises two questions. Do I really need a profile picture and if so, do you have any tips for me?
Answer: The short answer to your first question is: absolutely, positively, Yes! The majority of prospective employers (and 100% of headhunters) are going to check you out on LinkedIn even if they already have your resume. And if you have a good profile picture, it increases your chances of an interview especially if the hiring authority has to pick between you and someone with a similar background who doesn’t have a profile picture.
As to tips on profile pictures, your goal is to appear trustworthy, competent and likeable. Needless to say, you probably don’t want a smart phone pic – get it done by a professional or someone who has a real camera and knows how to use it.
As to the actual photo, the experts recommend that you smile with your teeth (close mouthed smiles make you half as likeable apparently), dress for success (suits raise perceived competence and influence), make eye contact with the camera and stick with a head and shoulders or head to waist shot.
Your profile picture matters. Studies show that it only takes one-tenth of a second for someone to draw conclusions about you based on your photo – make sure that they draw the right conclusions.