Archive for the ‘Week #8’ Category

The Power of a Profile Pic

Posted: March 18, 2011 in Week #8

My LinkedIn Profile Pic.

“I can’t remember where I heard it but someone made the comparison that having no photo on LinkedIn is like going to a networking event wearing a paper bag over your head – I have always loved that analogy!” – Lisa Marie Diaz

There is currently a great discussion forming in LinkedIn’s Social Media Today group. The discussion topic, lead by Dermot G., a Brand Marketing Manager, asks “What do you think about Profiles without Profile picture?”

Here’s how Dermot starts the conversation:

Is it acceptable in current broad up-take of social media, by public and professionals?
Does it diminish networking potential of social media platforms?
How do you react when you get a network/connection request from someone without a profile pic?
When does it, if ever, make sense to leave out a profile pic?

Currently with 105 comments, including mine, there is a great debate stirring among its group members.

Here are some highlights from that discussion, starting with fellow Journ65 Facebook Group member, Gregory Stringer.

…profile pics, while perhaps not necessary, are at least a good idea; something else was that one astute observer noted only actual head shot photographic images are supposed to be posted on profiles; logos, artistic renderings, and caricatures are in violation of LinkedIn EULA’s. (Please don’t take issue w/ me personally over this, I don’t care one way or the other… ain’t hatin’, just statin’.)

Gregory, I personally don’t think you’re being a hater. I don’t agree with what the “observer” stated about using head shots, as it’s both time consuming searching for a photographer and expensive for their services. In this day and age, most everyone owns a digital camera in some shape or form. Even the 5 mega-pixel camera on my smartphone takes decent photos, so I guess using the term head shot can simply define a top quality photo, and not necessarily one taken by a professional photographer.

On the issue of ageism, here’s what some people had to say:

I personally detest having the wrinkles and saggy skin be the first thing that people see. However, I also believe that even a bad picture is better than no picture. Psychologically it does lend credibility to the person. To look at someone’s picture and instantly make a judgement about them is wrong, but it happens a lot. Yes, some of us are extremely camera shy, others do not take good photos, yet if we are to fully participate in Social Media, we need to Get Social. –Kate Knittle

I do a lot of LinkedIn Presentations for networking groups, and by far the most pressing reason for not showing a picture is AGE DISCRIMINATION. A majority of people in job search are those over 50. I keep hearing the same phrases over and over again about showing wrinkles or having gray hair when in the job search is a turn off for most recruiters or hiring managers. –Bruce Bixler

I am new to Linked In and I had a concern about my age as some of you had mentioned. I am fifty (looks better spelled out, rather than the big 50, LOL!). Ultimately, I decided that the picture was necessary, especially since I am transitioning careers and currently job hunting. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time, so the current picture, I hope, helps keep me in the running…or not. I think I made the right decision by posting the picture. –Ramon Martinez

This thread brings to mind the rule that when applying for a new job, pictures aren’t allowed to be submitted along with résumés. It is illegal for companies to discriminate based upon age, therefore they don’t want to see your face unless they’re bringing you in for an interview. Sometimes our brains can subconsciously discriminate if we’ve seen head shots of potential applicants, but let’s not forget that, like Kate stated, “to fully participate in Social Media, we need to Get Social”; therefore, a pic on LinkedIn is in fact important. At the end of the day, we live in a society that puts more emphasis on how we look, rather than how we think or act, which brings me to the next group of comments with the age-old theme that “we can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Pictures add a great visual but only take them at face value. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Pictures do help others remember people. If you look at the logo I use it is fairly bright and recognizable. –Davy W.

@Davy W, you’re right, of course, about judging a book by its covers, and I didn’t try to make law from superficiality, but to sum up the facts about the people in my networks. You don’t need a photo to remember the right people (value adding humans :), but when communicating online with various persons (if your job makes you do it), who you don’t know personally, a photo gives you a sense of security, ensures you that you are really not communicating (or doing business) with a blip on a screen. 2 more cents 🙂 –Rastko Sejik

…at the end of the day, we all make snap judgments based on people’s pictures. Not having a picture makes me think people are hiding something. Bad pictures make me think, “Don’t they know that’s BAD?” Good pictures generally prompt me to look more carefully at a person’s profile. Interesting pictures leave me hoping that one day I might meet that person (thus my hopefully interesting picture that people tell me is good of me). Your picture choice is part of your online brand and positioning… it’s important. –John Morris

The importance of using a profile picture on LinkedIn has sparked many group members to voice their opinions, and while some don’t mind if people have no pic, the consensus is that a top quality photo can take you far in the networking arena. Coming into the discussion rather late in the game, my reply still stands as the last comment on the thread, so I’ll post it here so my readers have an opportunity to comment on the blog, as well as in the group discussion.

What is the criteria for choosing a great profile picture? I’ve heard that a picture showing a smile can go a long way in this economy, but as an artist, I wanted my pic to be artistic rather than a “head shot.” I heard good and bad about the one I ended up choosing. “Looks like a year book photo,” someone once said. Hopefully, it doesn’t have that same cheesy effect that a year book photo has.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/williamriverasf



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http://www.linkedin.com/today/

I think I may have stumbled upon something truly special this week. With the launch of LinkedIn Today, I now have more incentive to make LinkedIn my daily go-to site for news. Instead of searching through a slew of news blogs, LinkedIn Today brings those headlines to you in one homepage. With a tweak here and there, such as customizing your trusted sources and suggested industries, LinkedIn Today is modified to fit your needs.

After reading Introducing LinkedIn Today, I was ready to create and personalize my homepage.

If you only have five minutes to catch up on news, LinkedIn Today can help you cut through all the clutter, so you can discover the top headlines you need to read to be better informed everyday.

If you’re a pop culture junkie like me, you’ll be certain to tailor your homepage with headlines from trusted sources such as Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Mediapost, and Variety. Reading my “dailies” has never been easier or more exciting. Today, for example, Hollywood had some big announcements that were making headlines all over the net, so as an experiment and test, I visited my go-to sites to rack them up. In roughly twenty minutes, I think I had read them all, but after clicking through my customized LinkedIn Today homepage, I had read them ALL in matter of seconds.

Another fantastic feature of LInkedIn Today is having the option to share articles with your connections, which in turn, allows you to see what people in your network are sharing and, most importantly, what they are thinking about.

You know and trust most of your connections and coworkers, so if they share an article, it’s a good signal that it’s something you should be paying attention to. By looking at the news articles being shared across your network and who is sharing it, we can highlight the top stories you should be paying attention to.

This is probably the most important feature because if your boss or co-worker decide to share a story, and then you read it, you can demonstrate to them that you go above and beyond to keep the dialogue current. If everyone in a business is on the same page, then it’s sure to strive for greatness.

For a LinkedIn newbie like me, the thought of daily upkeep can feel overwhelming at times, but now that I have two reasons to sign in — networking and news — the incentives to come back on daily basis are greater. As I establish more connections with professionals in my area of expertise, I know I’ll be on the right track when it comes time for interviews and eventually getting hired for my dream job.

As a newbie to the journalism scene, and a recent LinkedIn member, I have done more exploration in the past week than ever. I think LinkedIn holds the key to unlocking a skill set that will set us apart from the old-school journalist paradigm of having to put on boots to find sources.  LinkedIn has much more to offer than just making connections, boosting CV performance, and landing your dream job. It is a tool that every journalist should learn to benefit from.

Use the LinkedIn Learning Center to help you write that story and shine as a journalist.

The power of LinkedIn stretches from making professional connections to finding credible experts who serve as sources for your big story.

Whether it’s the inside scoop from a company or substantiating a rumor, having the right source makes all the difference.

Finding the right contact is simple and easy using the Advanced Search feature.

Sort the results by degrees away from you and then request an Introduction from one of your connections so that the source will be more comfortable with you.

If you’re looking to obtain freelance work and writing assignments, make your skill set stand out against corporate brands.

Use your LinkedIn profile to promote your personal website, book, blog, or latest articles to give the breadth of your work more coverage.

Breathe new life and creativity into your writing by reading what others are thinking with Answers.

Use Answers to see trends by browsing the topics people are discussion to get a feel for what’s going on and ask questions directly to members of the community you write for.

Don’t let research be time consuming. Before that big interview, use LinkedIn to familiarize yourself with who you are talking to.

Look up your interviewee’s LinkedIn profile to quickly digest their professional and academic history to provide context for further questions, etc. Look for common connections to either warm up your conversation or as a source for additional background information.

To extend your knowledge of finding sources online, check out Dana Liebelson’s informative blog, 5 ways to find sources online. She lists sites such as Profnet, HARO, and Authoritory as her go-to’s.

As a recent member of LinkedIn with a plethora of questions, I took to the “Answers” section to seek advice and gain wisdom from working professionals. After my first week on LinkedIn, my main concern was how to make the most out of my limited work experience, seek out professionals in fields that interest me, and whether it is even worth the upkeep for full-time students like me. Within a matter of hours, I received many answers worth sharing with my fellow classmates.

Question #1:

With my career on hold as I finish my last two years of undergraduate work, how much focus should I put with upkeep, connections, and recommendations with my LinkedIn profile?

Answers:

Keep your network alive and up to date. Also, before you all go your separate ways, consider connecting with your academic colleagues while you have the chance, and solicit recommendations from professors or employers that might give you temp assignments.” —Judy B. Margolis, MA (Business WRITER | Editor | Blogger/News Junkie)

“I would urge you to keep your network active as much as you can. There is a saying, that one should build a network before it’s needed. That’s what keeping up with your LinkedIn profile will accomplish.” —Ed Han (Wordsmith)

“Many times, it’s who you know along with how much you know.You never know, a connection may be the key to your next job…” —Dave Maskin “The Wire Man” (Trade Show Booth Traffic Builder, Event Entertainer & Party Favor Provider)

Question #2:

How can I make a powerful and attractive summary with a work history that has sharply contrasting fields of expertise?

Answers:

Hello, William. Is there the possibility of a common thread throughout (e.g., creative endeavors)? If so, perhaps you can tie them together in this way, and even consider how the next thing built on the previous one(s). But if this won’t work, there’s really nothing wrong with changing fields. I would just be ready to talk about the switch and how you can apply things you learned in each to the next challenge. Taylor Winship (Senior Project Manager)

I would suggest building your summary so that it looks towards what kind of role you wish to pursue once your education is done. As it isn’t clear to me what that is, I cannot advise you with any specific suggestions, but in essence, you want your summary to read like someone who will fit right into that role.—Ed Ham (Wordsmith)

Question #3:

When browsing profiles or seeking specific people on LinkedIn, what are the primary pieces of information that you focus on and why?

Answers:

“Number of connections, shared connections, their current and past jobs, recommendations and education.” —Judy B. Margolis, MA (Business WRITER | Editor | Blogger/News Junkie)

“I am generally interested in their Summary, last few positions, groups (esp any in common), and potentially their links and applications.” —Ed Ham (Wordsmith)

“I’m usually looking for people that I’ve come across before so the key pieces are the photograph (oh, yes I remember them!) and their history, usually jobs (oh, that’s where I know them from).” —John Bryden (Specialist)

“I use xray searches to find people related to my business, it is simple and fast to get to the information I need.” —Tim Tymchyshyn (Wireless Network Builder)

As you can see from the last answer, not everyone will take you seriously, however, it was refreshing to have someone use a dry sense of humor to answer my question. It provided a much needed chuckle in an arena of seriousness.

I look forward to implementing this advice into my LinkedIn journey.  I’m learning that it’s OK not to have a shiny gold résumé, because I can make my skill set shine just the same. I am more than happy to accept your connection requests and return the favor of answering any questions I can. Please check back with me and my blog, as I will be updating this post with answers as they come in.

To make a connection with me on LinkedIn, please click here:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/williamriverasf