The Best Tips To Creating a Great Profile Image for Yourself.

When was the last time you thought about the message your personal profile image is sending to potential new employers?

Lets start with a question: how many Social Media sites do you currently use? 2…3…6…10? Lucky you! You are part of the masses using Social media on a daily basis in your home, at the office, on your mobile and in the toilet.

Bonus! If you’re reading this article you obvious believe that leveraging social media is an absolute need for both personal and business these days.

Next question: Who believes that first impressions are important? *(Yes that was rhetorical) and I think that goes without saying…

Listen…We’ve all seen the terrible – cringeworthy profile shots that people use on their LinkedInFacebook, Twitter, and other Social Media Networking sites. For me its like nails running down the chalkboard. I want to email them at midnight and ask them – Do you realize how unprofessional you appear, how you are devaluating your personal brand, and immediately eliminating yourself as a candidate for that new position JUST by using the profile image you are currently displaying? NO employer wants to see a picture of you cropped from a larger image (with the ex or party buddies), yellow, dark-underexposed, on vacation, in a bar with your sunnies on, playing footie with your mates, with your dog/girlfriend, LARPING etc. And trust me – they WILL Google you. And they will find you on Social Media – it’s  part of standard HR vetting practices now. Imagine your whole life  – exposed in a click…good and bad. So it’s time to start scrubbing up your online profile.

You may have just graduated from Uni, are entering back into the work force after being a full time mum, or had some life changing event that has propelled you back into the job hunt. Perhaps you are upwardly mobile cosmetic surgeon, barrister, CEO or Executive – consider dropping a few bucks into your local photographers pocket (I personally think that the value you receive from professional headshots will well overtake the monetary investment in the long run if your talking about a 20% pay raise into that new position). If you INSIST on doing it yourself – here are some tips to help you get a great picture.

Consider the Message of Your Profile Image

Does your image show that you are a credible professional, a leader, an authority, an artist, athlete, or just serious partier travelling the world? Take some time to consider what you want to tell people visually in your image; something about you, something personal, something about your story.

Personal Presentation aka Grooming

You need to appear clean, neatly combed and coiffed, ladies – light makeup Dress as your own best representative – are you the modern fashionista the contemporary blog writer, professional athete, powerful corporate lawyer or dental technician? Avoid Loud Patterned shirts, casual t-shirt with rude saying – goes without saying. Try wearing clothing that won’t date as quickly, a simple dress shirt and blazer, muted colors, company logo on your high vis wear.

Location or Background

Do you want to have your picture taken in the Park or the office – Inside vs outside? Both have different lighting and send a different message. An office will seem much more professional, but an athlete may want to portray themselves in the elements in which they are all the time. Environment brings more credibility to an image. Eliminate distractions to the eye like very bright colors, animals, children, signage, building unless they provide some type of context to your story. And remember always – YOU are the single subject of the image. Keep it simple.

Post processing – what you do AFTER you take your image.

Orientation – portrait  (tall), or landscape (wide) or square. Portrait is the more traditional orientation for profile, square is more modern, fun and geared toward social media. Do not use filters or cross processing APPS. Keep your image clean and real. Along these lines as well do not use boarders or text. If available make sure to use meta tags, alt_tags, hashtags, and links if available in your uploads as they will add to your SEO and SERPs

The Final List of No-No’s or ‘How to get a nasty email from me at midnight after I check out all your profile images over the next month:

  • No party pics
  • No vacation pics
  • No family pics ( unless it’s a family business)
  • No pics with gf/bf
  • No sports
  • No events
  • No flash!
  • No sitting in front of your computer generated images

Just a simple focused image with YOU as the primary subject, appearing clean well dressed with no distractions in the image. This will give you a leg up, build trust and confidence in your profile and might even make the difference of you getting that foot in the door initially. Go ahead – use your iphone, ipad, pocket camera, DSLR. Whatever takes pictures for you…But whatever you do remember the KISS Rule. Keep it Simple (Silly).

Do you think Your Website Images Need an Update?

Ideas, Images, Infographics, Style and Design are rapidly changing, and you are trying to keep up with a market segment that is pouring more resources and time and digital energy into their website every day.

website restaurant image for business

So how does your website keep up let alone compete? Why do consumers choose your business  over theirs?

With incredible, creative, relevant images. And its not as hard as you might think!

As a small business where can you effectively put your limited resources into the get the best bang for the buck or for your larger entities your ROI?

Great images can help you drive sales, grow your business and build your online community.

For the uninitiated photography newbie, there are a few little tweaks that can help you retain your clients and start to get longer stays and better more qualified conversions for your business.

What are the best images to use for your business and how do you get them?

THE best images that you can use for your business are images of – you guessed it  – YOUR business! People want an experience. They are BEGGING for it! What better way is there to sell yourself and business than showing them what you do, and how, and why? From a spa style dentist office to boutique restaurant to florist, show what you do best. Have a professional photographer come and bring LIGHT to what your business is about. A second option is to use stock images (istock.com, shutterstock.com, getty.com). They are great. They can supplement your personalized images, but don’t make the mistake of using the same image that the dentist office down the street is using of the girl with the pearly whites…these types of images are overused, impersonal and not representational of your business.

How can you use photographic images to create some buzz?

yelling man image

Its a great reason to announce on all your media platforms that you have relaunched your website. Its free PR! And YOU will be top of mind next time they need a wax, a haircut (before and after for beauty services), financial service, or their car fixed. It’s also a great way to announce that you are committed to improving your business, offer new services, and a reason for them to come back and check you out again. A few more things to consider using images with: newsletters, mailing list, direct mailings, and emails are all great ways to use images to enhance all your fulfilment procedures.

Where to use images to get the best ROI and conversion rate?

Front page of your website and landing pages would be the key ingredients here. When you figure out where people are landing and where you want them to go…you leave them a trail of breadcrumbs (images) to lead them around…

Environmental images and services will have the greatest impact on retaining hits. Great images will bring people to your website from social media, online listings, associations etc. When people are doing their snooping and investigating, their eye will be drawn to the pretty picture, and light spaces first, so plan your media images to draw the eye.

It has to be said. Responsive websites and devices are what you need to be working towards. There is no point in having a great image on a poorly designed mobile device that wont scale properly. Goodbye customer – immediately, and never to return. Experience is everything on mobile devices and 45% of us use them for surfing these days and this is growing rapidly. So there is no point in building a site that sits statically on a mobile device.

Use Infographics!

Coolinfographics.com has a great list of Infographics. Lets make statics EXCITING! When you need to use numbers in your business presentation, Infographics are a great way to go.

tall_infographics

 

 

 

 

(The Tall Infographics design from Randall Munroe at xkcd literally made me laugh out loud.  As he mentions in the text: “‘Big Data’ doesn’t just mean increasing the font size.)

Images that kill your experience and send them running

There are lots of great examples of things that dont work well, and here is the far end of the spectrum that need no explaining: cigarette packages, surgical procedures, awkward family shots…well I think you get the ‘picture’. When it comes to medical services, people are nervous enough, so less is more. Think END product.

Some other things that dont work well would be irrelevant imagery. People want to see pictures of your business. Not a picture of the outside of your building thats located in an industrial park, or a stock image of a pretty smiling face with a head microphone. It feels fake, and Im sure your not in the business of selling what you are not.

Consider that your images need to work well with your website as well. That means color tone and crop work for your banners, pages are places relevantly and they are consistent within your messaging in site.

There are multitudes of things to consider when chosing how to design your business images. But know that a consistent, well designed message and images help you meet the coherent message that you want your viewers to see and conversions will go from a trickly to a pour.

See you online!

Erin Pimm

www.head-hunters.com

 

 

 

How important are first impressions?

How important are first impressions?

head-hunters_first_impressions

Statistics say that the average person will make a decision about whether or not they will do business with you within 6 seconds of visiting your website or viewing your profile, and first impressions are within the FIRST second someone. ONE SECOND!

There is no opportunity to make a second impression and seconds truly do count!

Lets translate this to the digital world and your profile and website images.

Princeton University psychologist Alex Todorov conducted an experiment in which she had people view a microsecond of video of a political candidate. The results showed that 70 percent of subjects were able to make an instantaneus and very accurate about who would win the election…in a NANO second!

So how do we make an impression that is accurate? Here are some ideas:

Intention

You should have a reason for being where you are, when you are. Spend some time considering who you want to meet there and why. Its like previsioning, and its proven that using visualization works towards your end goals. Successful athletes use some form of visualization every day as do businesses,  so start setting aside time every day, pre event and even moment to moment in your interactions.

Adornments

Consider what your suit, watch, shoes, tie, briefcase, and earrings say about you! I know a woman who carries her brochures around in a gold case because she knows how she values her business. Also think about the occassion and location. All require appropriate attire. You do not want to be the odd man out, under, or over dressed. Dress to impress. Im quite knit picky and consider, hair, make-up, nails and polished shoes part of the equation at every meeting I might take.

Body Language

Be open open open. There isn’t much more of a kiss of death than arms crossed in front of you, or standing face to face at an event that says ‘I’m closed off to you”. The next person that walks by could be a potential client, boss, or business partner. Stand at right angles, keep your circle open for newcomers looking to break in, be aware of your posture, how you walk (watch the high heels ladies), make eye contact, have a firm handshake (I cant TELL you how many wet fish I get), and be confident. Your attitude most CERTAINLY shines though in your personal presentation.

Pick Your Good Days

Lord knows we all have em…the funk, the grump, the tired impatient days. So…if you are having one of these, make a choice. Go do something that will get you out of it (nice run in the park, yoga, meditation, a glass of wine on the beach) or simply stay home. If you make a bad first impression (and people will read it on you in a nano second and run) there is little or no recourse to change that.

Get Interested

People want to be heard. The more you ask, the more they will genuinely think you are interesting as well. They may focus the whole time on themselves, but YOU just made a great impression on THEM by listening. Then you can kill them with your wit and gregariousness when you have coffee next week to discuss opportunities. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

And you’re off…good luck and happy networking!

 

By Erin Pimm