First Impressions are Lasting….

It has been said that a LinkedIn profile with a headshot will get up to 7 times more clicks than a profile without one. Your photo is the first thing that eyes are drawn to when viewing a profile. Remember that we read left to right and that we are quick to make judgments about what we see. So, if the very first thing to be seen is a face that is too distant, too close, too angry, too sexy or just generally disinterested it might be better to not have a photo at all.

Consider that your photo is a critical piece of your profile and reputation so it needs to be in harmony with your overall message. Starting a profile with a poor image is like starting a sprint race with your shoe laces tied together.

Think about this: Nearly 90% of human resource professionals report that they check out social media profiles—especially LinkedIn and Facebook—before they consider extending an interview opportunity! Five years ago recruiters and hiring managers relied on one page resumes for new hires. Now, the whole world of social media provides a much greater treasure cove of information about potential candidates. It is not a fluke or coincidence that recruiters currently contribute over 50% of LinkedIn’s revenue. Social media sites ARE the new hiring and credibility source.

Here are two tips for a headshot photo that help instead of hinder your goal achievements.

1) Make it a smiling headshot. Be relaxed and authentic. Look inviting to new clients and connections. Have a professional take the shot if at all possible.

2) Take a picture that is consistent with your business goal. A future job interview could well be decided on how well your headshot portrays the “professional” you.

In summary, realize that your LinkedIn headshot conveys a story, so make sure that it tells the story that you want told. It’s range of effectiveness can result in opening employment doors to the “kiss of death”.

Be seen as professional, competent and friendly and it is more likely that your audience will want to explore the skills and benefits that your offer and are outlined in the body of your profile. Anything short of that might well become a very expensive mistake.

By Gary Kissel | LinkedIn Strategist | Speaker | Author