LinkedIn is getting more useful and more popular. Indeed we have a comms2point0 company page here. Here's a few thoughts on how images can work best on your profile to make yourself eyecatching to a potential recruiter. There's the head and shoulders, sure. But what about the cover image?
by John Fox
Most people are using the cover photo facility provided by Facebook and Twitter to personalise their profiles, but how many are using the same facility available on Linked In, and is the image appropriate?
All three social media giants offer the option to display a cover photo on your profile. That's the wide banner-type image that appears across the top of the page — different from your profile picture.
Is a cover photo really necessary on Linked In?
I think so. You are missing an opportunity to promote your personal brand if you do not include a photo that expresses your professional identity. It helps potential employers or clients to see you in the professional capacity you wish to convey.
Since Linked In is, to all intents and purposes, Facebook for Business, it is important to remember a few key points about profile and cover photos you used on a Linked In profile.
The images you select should always connect back to who you are as a professional, which isn’t always the case for a channel like Twitter where an individual may have a pseudonym as a Twitter ID.
The cover picture, in particular, should portray your professional competence. Use it to convey information about your expertise so that someone viewing your profile associates you with the image, and of course, the image with you.
Mike Bracken, Executive Director at the Cabinet Office, for example chose an image conveying blue sky thinking. This makes sense as Mike is the head of the Government Digital Service which challenges government departments to be innovative and transformative.
Because it is displayed so prominently you really do need to make sure that the cover image you select represents you well. Of course you can always change it later, but why not start off as you mean to go on?
Here are a couple of ideas for communicators:
- · For writers
- · For graphic designers – an image you’ve crafted
- · For salespeople – a representative image of your product or service
- · For webbies
Information architecture is my key specialism these days and so my Linked In profile reflects this.
Before you post the first picture you see, pull together a selection and review them all, challenging your motivation for each. “Which image represents me best?” Pictures have an energy that are able to convey information about the person in ways that often words don’t quite hit the mark..
Of course the acid test will be the impression that other people get when they view your profile, so as a sanity check you could ask a colleague for their opinion of your chosen image.
Many companies and recruiters are now using algorithms to crunch the content of people's CVs and Linked In profiles so that they can whittle down the applicant pool to a small number of people who should be invited for an interview.
Just as people take time to ensure that they dress appropriately for an interview, now it’s just as crucial to ensure they are appropriately dressed for the internet too. Having an appropriate Linked In profile cover photo could make all the difference to whether you land that interview or not.
John Fox is a digital optimisation consultant. His LinkedIn profile is here.