JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

7 Tips for a Recruiter-attracting LinkedIn Profile!

Posted by Jean Cummings

May 17, 2013 3:41:00 PM

Good LinkedIn Photo

 Photo courtesy of Mat Robinson of Enduring Images Studio

“If someone doesn’t have a photo of himself on his LinkedIn profile, I’m not inclined not to trust him,” a hiring manager said the other day. Many people feel this way. Whoa! This message is coming in loud and clear: If your goal on being on LI is to network and potentially be considered for job opportunities, get a photo up there, and make it a good one!

Have you noticed that the photos are bigger on the new LI profiles? LI is moving in a direction paved by other social media sites that know that visuals are HUGE in terms of impact and influence. You only have to look at the role visuals pay on Facebook and, of course, the explosive growth of YouTube. The new media button that is being rolled out by LI is further evidence that visuals – in this case slide shows, videos, and additional photos – are key to conveying individual and corporate brands.

With the new, larger LI photo, you have more of a chance to create a more personal connection with the employer or recruiter who views it, before they ever read a word about you. Your executive resume also will be read with more interest if the reader has a mental picture of you. A properly lit image of you, appropriately dressed, with an engaging expression, can enhance your written profile, invite trust, and provide an intimacy that words alone could never do! 

Think about what a friendly, open, constructive person looks like. Do you like the headshot of someone you’re connected to? You want your image to be professional but not stuffy.  Above all, you want to look approachable.

The good news is that you don’t have to win a beauty contest for your photo, just have a great expression.

Here are 7 valuable tips that can help you ensure that your photo will HELP YOU, not hurt you (remember, having no photo WILL hurt you), and even serve as a competitive advantage for you!

  1. Hire a portrait photographer to get a professional quality headshot of you facing into the camera. An angled picture can make you look sneaky. A profile picture doesn’t allow for eye contact. Sometimes your investment can be little more than $100 for a professional to help you out. Don’t use a Facebook-type picture of you partying with friends. If you can't afford a professional, then find a friend with a digital camera to take some pictures of you against a white background. Then pick the best shot.
  2. Use good lighting so that your photo gives a fair representation of what you look like and so that your face isn’t bathed in shadows.
  3. Use a white or neutral background. Some people use black. You don’t want to have a photo with a distracting background. Try to capture from the neck or shoulders up.  
  4. Dress for success. If you are applying for an executive or managerial position, dress for the role. A good rule of thumb is to dress the way your immediate superior does on the job. For a woman, avoid too much jewelry or busy patterns. For a man, keep your tie (if you are wearing one) from stealing the show.
  5. Have the photographer try to capture some of your personal brand attributes by conveying them in your expression. They may include one or more of the following: leader-like, sincere, assertive, strong, charismatic, steady, creative, humorous, outgoing, confident, etc. 
  6. If you are worried about age discrimination, then feel free to touch up the gray hairs and use a healthy layer of foundation for a youthful and energetic appearance. I recommend getting a professional makeup job done, for both men and women. There’s a reason why TV anchors look so great and why they have teams to make them look that way! Ask your local hair designer for a referral to someone good.
  1. Finally, try to look as up-to-date as possible. This means having your hairstyle and your clothing styles current, but not far-out trendy. Some of the larger stores have personal shoppers: Nordstrom, J Crew etc. Take advantage of their free guidance in selecting a suitable outfit.

See how great a professional headshot can be by viewing the image above. If you are in the New Jersey/New York area, contact Mat. Otherwise, try to find a professional near you whose work you like. Your headshot on LinkedIn, done right, can be an immediate invitation to a recruiter or hiring authority to read on and find on-brand, written content and, hopefully, more visuals that cause them to contact YOU.

 

 

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Topics: executive resumes, executive resume, LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn photo career management

In Stealth Job Search Mode? Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Safely

Posted by Jean Cummings

Oct 10, 2012 7:19:00 AM

Upgrade your LinkedIn Profile without tipping off your boss

Have you been wanting to improve your LinkedIn Profile without tipping off your employer, boss or peers that you are looking? A number of people I talk to are reluctant to fully utilize the potential of LinkedIn for job search for fear of getting questioned or fired by their employer. It's a legitimate concern. Some companies do keep an eye on changes employees make to their profiles and may view them as red flags.

So what do you do? Here are some strategies:

1. Before your make any changes to your profile, go into Settings and under Privacy Controls turn OFF your activity broadcasts. Then, when you are finished, go into Privacy Controls again and turn it back on.

2. Make changes only incrementally. One week you may punch up the accomplishments under one job. And do that for each job title only once a week.

3. Let the dust settle, then tackle your Professional Headline. To optimize for job search, get your keywords in there: your target title and industry, and your value proposition - all in under 120 characters! :)

4. Then here comes the trickiest part - the Summary. Here is where employers most likely will be able to see if someone is suddenly looking for a job. So handle your profile diplomatically. There is a way to do this that does not scream, "I'm looking for a job!" Write it from the point of view of someone who is happy and contributing at their current employer. Use the name of the company right from the start: "At Neptune Associates Universal I proactively align technology with business requirements. My own passion for providing superior customer service is a good match for Neptune's commitment to overdelivering on every promise."

5. The following week complete your Skills & Expertise Section - paying close attention to including the keywords that people are likely to be searching for in your space.

6. Continuing to space your changes, build out the rest of your profile. You are aiming for 100% complete (LinkedIn will tell you when you get there.) Request new testimonials, list interests and books read, consider using available apps to show a PowerPoint presentation you created or a video of you speaking as a thought leader in your field, etc.

7. Once you have your Profile complete, start to expand your activity on LinkedIn by sending out invitations to connect with people on an ongoing basis - including with folks in your function and people at companies where you would like to work. Join groups where thought leaders, recruiters for your function and/or industry, and your target companies hang out.

8. Exercise care in sending invitations to connect with recruiters and hiring managers. Also, use caution about joining job search groups. Since people can see the groups you are in as part of your profile, stick to professional groups with a focus on increasing knowledge in your space.

9. If you tweet, join your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts - again, after an interval of time has passed.

If you follow these steps, you will be changing your LinkedIn content so gradually that, although at some point people may say to themselves "What a great LinkedIn profile!" - they will not be able to pinpoint exactly when the changes happened. What they will see is a loyal employee who has the good sense to build out his/her profile in a rich, highly professional way.

Recruiters and hiring managers will see the same things - and that will work for you too! The biggest mistake you can make is holding off on the process of optimizing your profile for job search. Your LIP is where everyone will go when considering you for a position. Good luck!

 

Have you been wanting to improve your LinkedIn Profile so employers and recruiters can find you without tipping off ? Here's how:

 

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Job Search Under the Radar




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    Topics: executive job search, LinkedIn profile, how to write a LinkedIn Profile, confidential job search

    Why You Need a Photo on Your LinkedIn Profile

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Dec 5, 2011 2:41:00 PM

     Photos on LinkedIn

    In a relentlessly competitive job search environment, a good photo accompanying your LinkedIn profile can help differentiate you from other candidates. While your resume and credentials can boost your hiring potential, a photo allows the employer to put a face to a name.

    Personalizing Your Potential

    So why should you add a great photo to your LinkedIn profile?

    • A photo builds a more personal connection and increases your social appeal.

    • The photo of you reassures recruiters and hiring managers. In a recent survey, one potential employer conveyed his suspicion of LinkedIn users who do not have a photo on their profile, asking, “What is he trying to hide?”

    • A photo can help market your personal brand. Outgoing? Determined? Warm? Dignified? Authoritative? Leader-like? Compassionate? Strong? Confident? Congenial? Bold? Your expression can convey some of your key attributes.

    • How you are dressed in the photo can indicate the level of work you are interested in. For instance, if you are applying for an executive position, you should probably wear a suit and tie. If you're a hands-on technologist, you may want to dress in business casual. If you are looking for an opening in a tattoo parlor, feel free to spice up your look and get creative!  

    • A photo reassures a potential employer that you are ready to work. Regardless of age, you can project a youthful and energetic appearance.

    So, you’ve got the right amount of experience, education, and training. Add a Linkedin photo, and you increase your chances of getting interviews.

    Cross-posted at Career Hub Blog

     

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    Topics: executive resumes, executive resume, career management, LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn photo

    What Kind of Photo Should I Use on My LinkedIn Profile?

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Dec 5, 2011 9:11:00 AM

    Image headshot

    Photo courtesy of Mat Robinson of Enduring Images Studio

    Having the right kind of photo on your LinkedIn profile can create a more personal connection with the employer or recruiter who views it. Even your executive resume will will be read with more interest if the reader has a mental picture of you. A properly lit, well-dressed photo of you can enhance your written profile and assuage any concerns that might arise if you don't have a profile! 

    • You'll want to use a professional quality headshot, not an angled picture that you snapped with your cell phone in front of the bathroom mirror, and not a Facebook profile picture of you out on the town. If you can't afford a professional, then find a friend with a digital camera who knows how to point and click. 
    • Use good lighting. After all, the place you will be working in will have proper lighting, so your picture should show a fair representation of what you look like.
    • Use a neutral background with solid colors. You don’t want to have a photo with too much background noise or cutoff heads floating around.
    • Dress for success. If you are applying for an executive or managerial position, have your collar pressed and your tie straight. 
    • Have the photographer try to capture some of your personal brand attributes in your expression. They may include one or more of the following: leader-like, sincere, assertive, strong, charismatic, steady, creative, humorous, outgoing, confident, etc. 
    • If you are worried about age discrimination, then feel free to touch up the gray hairs and use a healthy layer of foundation for a youthful and energetic appearance. 
    • Finally, try to look as up-to-date as possible. This means having your hair style and your clothing style current. 

    See how great a professional headshot can be by viewing the image in this blog post. If you are in the New Jersey/New York area, contact Mat. Otherwise, try to find someone whose work looks great close to home.

    Having a high quality photo for your LinkedIn profile can draw the viewer in and prompt a contact with a recruiter or hiring authority. 

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    Topics: executive resumes, executive resume, LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn photo career management

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