Having already heightened the aesthetic of its home page, LinkedIn has turned its attention to revamping the view and functionality of the profile page. The new look's most noteworthy features are an increased text size in the marquee (the copy that signifies your name and professional headline) and an enlarged, more prominently positioned photo portal.
In this new rendition, LinkedIn is shining the spotlight on you.
As the headshot has escalated in importance, special attention ought to be paid to the selection of your pose, wardrobe and facial expression. A thoughtful, pleasing portrait instantaneously enhances you, pulls people in and motivates them to learn more about you. A poorly composed, pixilated or unflattering photo will quickly deflate visitors to your page. No image whatsoever is a deal-breaker. (As has become my mantra: People don’t do business with ghosts.)
Some things to rethink regarding your LinkedIn profile headshot and what it can do for you:
Create Instant Conscious Awareness
As evidenced by numerous optical tracking studies, the eye is naturally drawn to the place on the computer screen where the LinkedIn headshot sits. The brain is at the ready to receive a great deal of data upon a page download, and the characteristics of your digital image are absorbed immediately. That first impression -- ideally, a favorable one -- will dictate the extent to which visitors to your LinkedIn profile will engage you.
Establish a Foundation for your Personal Brand
Your headshot is the most salient aspect of your LinkedIn profile and its potential impact on your brand cannot be underestimated. Your professionalism is reflected in the quality of the image, the degree of welcome in your expression and the overall “energy” you exude. An effective headshot conveys trust and facilitates connection.
Give People a Fighting Chance to Remember You
Enabling potential clients and collaborators to make memories of you is vital to your survival in business. With increasing frequency, businesspeople are stepping up and stepping out, exchanging cards and leaving behind collateral pieces. Over time, recollection wanes and people may forget how and where they met. First-time visitors to your LinkedIn profile must be able to recognize you.
If you like your current head shot and feel that it reflects you accurately, keep it. If you feel there's room for improvement, change it. If you don’t have one, get one.
J.D. GERSHBEIN, CEO of OWLISH COMMUNICATIONS is a specialist in the Art and Science of LinkedIn. He is a trusted asset to top executives, managers, entrepreneurs, professional service providers, salespeople, and those involved in the search for their next great opportunity. J.D. offers unrivaled strategic direction to individuals and firms -- ranging from small to medium-sized businesses (SMB’s) to Fortune 500 companies -- in using LinkedIn to build brand and generate revenue. Dubbed “The Oracle of LinkedIn,” J.D. is considered one of the top LinkedIn strategists in the world and a pioneer in the design and delivery of LinkedIn educational programs. A highly sought-after international speaker, J.D. draws upon his background in marketing communications, industrial psychology, neuroscience, improvisational comedy and broadcast media to inspire opportunity-oriented professionals in all walks of business. J.D. is also an Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Stuart Graduate School of Business where he teaches the school’s first-ever course in social media. His first book, a treatise on social neuromarketing and LinkedIn communication strategies will be available in 2012.