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Are you making the wrong first impression on LinkedIn?

First impressions count. When we meet someone for the first time we get a ‘gut feeling’ for whether we are going to get on with them and invariably our gut feeling is right. On LinkedIn, someone’s first impression of you (and your professionalism) is your profile picture. Get this wrong and people viewing your profile – or receiving a connection request – may look no further.

So as an aid to getting it right, let’s take a look at my top 7 ways to get it wrong.

1. Common Mistakes

LinkedIn is the largest business to business (B2B) online networking site providing a platform for building relationships and people want to see who they are connecting with. Consequently, not uploading a profile image is a complete no-no for relationship building. Publishing your logo instead of a photo is better than no image at all, but doesn’t help you to build relationships. Another common mistake is using a small image for your profile pic. These usually occur because the image used was created for another social media site that required a smaller photo. Always upload the original photo then use LinkedIn’s easy-to-use profile-editing yellow box to crop the image as you want it to display.

2. The Wrong Environment

LinkedIn is a professional network and the photo you select should be representative of the environment you work in, rather than your personal life. Think about who your customers and contacts are and what they are expecting to see.

3. Poor Photography

Your profile picture is fundamental to your profile, so make sure the image is good quality, includes your whole face, and by the way, selfies are also a no-no. Your profile photo should take up the whole space, be centred and should show all of your head and shoulders as a minimum.

4. Leisure Time

It’s great that people have hobbies, cute pets and are in a happy relationship! However, your potential customers are interested in you and your work and want to see you appear professional, honest and as someone they could do business with.

5. Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are important and will directly influence a viewer’s impression of whether they can ‘get along’ with you.  Choose an image that shows you are approachable, friendly, but also professional. Not many people like having their photograph taken and all too often because of this we can come across as too jovial, or too serious. In the third example, we have no idea who is behind the white disk!

6. What You Like

Images of what you like in life and where you like visiting should be reserved for your personal Facebook page. You may or may not be a fan of Kiss, but this fact will certainly not add weight to the decision of whether someone likes you and trusts you to deliver a service.

7. Inappropriate

Inappropriate images, in my view, are worse than having no image at all. Think about whether the image is appropriate and relevant to what you do and ask yourself – does it reflect me within my working environment?

Choose an appropriate image

When choosing an image, there is no right or wrong image for a profile. What is ‘appropriate’ for your job will vary from job to job. The 3 images below have been picked to illustrate this as they are, in my opinion, all ‘appropriate’ for their particular working environment.

You are 14 times more likely to get a connection request if you have an appropriate, professional and welcoming photo.

Making a great first impression by selecting an appropriate image is vital to the process of building relationships and your profile picture on LinkedIn is your first chance to ‘impress’ a potential client. People buy from people they know, like and trust. If your picture doesn’t pass this assessment then you may not get a second chance.

Finally, you might like to ask yourself, “What would my current clients say about my profile photo?”

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