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My Do’s And Don’ts Of LinkedIn Profile Photos

If you are between the ages of 25 and 55, then chances are, you probably already have a LinkedIn Profile.  And chances are, you probably don’t think about it very often, unless you are job hunting (in which case, you may be updating your profile almost daily.)

Most people only update their work experience or skills when they revise their LinkedIn profile. More savvy B2B folks find ways to optimize their LinkedIn profile so that they rank higher in the LinkedIn Search results.  Others may ask for recommendations from former coworkers or clients.  But how much time and thought did they put into their LinkedIn profile photo?  My guess is most people have not thought about their photo since the day they uploaded it. How many times have you changed your photo?

LinkedIn has published guidelines for profile photos, but unless you are posting your company logo, your tagline, your favorite animal, or landscape, they will pretty much accept any photo as long as you are in it. If you break their easy-to-meet guidelines three times, they supposedly will not let you upload any more profile photos. However, I have seen some profiles of people who somehow got around this rule, and have a pet as their profile photo.  My guess is they uploaded the photo before the rules were created or enforced, and now they are essentially ‘grandfathered in’ (or would it be, ‘grandfather-Linked-In’?)

Remember that the FIRST thing someone sees when you show up in a LinkedIn search, or “People You May Know”, is your photo, and those first impressions count!  Yet for most people, the profile photo is the LAST thing they worry about!  So what kind of photo makes a good LinkedIn profile photo?  What makes for a bad one?

Here is my short list of Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn profile photos:

1. DON’T use your wedding photo, or a photo someone took of you while you were attending someone else’s wedding.  These are far too common and very easy to spot. Will you be wearing that tuxedo or strapless dress to your next interview?  Dapper!

Black and white professional headshot

My professional headshot in black and white

2. DO yourself a favor and get a professional headshot taken at least once every 5 years. No one likes meeting an older version of you after they saw the younger you online. Request a full color headshot and a black and white version of the same photo.  Beyond your LinkedIn profile, its good to have “your best face” on hand for other reasons like company newsletters, bylined articles, online dating sites, obituaries … “you never know when you are going to go” is my motto.  Might as well be ready for it.

3. DON’T use a photo that is obviously a cropped photo of you and someone else.  This is just as common as the wedding photos and drives me berserk!  Just because you were wearing a tie that day does not mean you look professional.  You look sweaty! And if you are going to crop out other people, you should also crop out that drink in your hand.

Example of cropped photo taken at a wedding

Cropped photo taken at a wedding

4. DO make sure to smile in your LinkedIn profile photo. Just like dating sites, people on LinkedIn want to work with happy people. Save your Resting Bitch Face for after you get the gig.

#LMRBFO = Laughing My Resting Bitch Face Off

#LMRBFO = Laughing My Resting Bitch Face Off

5. DON’T keep your profile photo blank.  If you don’t have a profile photo yet, then you probably should not have a public profile yet either.  No one wants to work with a ghost.  Plus, without a photo, how can the people you have previously worked with know that its actually you, and not someone pretending to be you?

6. DO include other items in your profile photo that are relevant to your career.  For example, if you are an audio engineer who typically works at concerts, then a photo of you standing next to a huge audio mixing console certainly adds value to your online resume.  It says “yes, I have done this before, so I am qualified”.  Or if you are a bowling coach, its okay to have bowling ball in hand.

7. DON’T wear sunglasses. Hey, I understand where you are coming from: I think I look better in sunglasses too, but its not appropriate on a professional networking site. Your eyes are the window to your soul, and by wearing sunglasses, you just closed the shades. The one exception to this would be if the person was visually impaired, or if they wear prescription glasses that transition to sunglasses in sunlight.  Also, if you use a photo taken outdoors, make sure your face is clearly visible.  Oftentimes, outdoor photos have too much contrast between the sunlight and shadows.

Sunglasses and Dreadlocks

Would you hire this shady dude?  I sure wouldn’t.

8. DO wear something that resembles what you would typically wear to your job on a day to day basis.  No wedding dresses, no hats, no tie-dyed shirts, no sports attire.  I don’t care how much you love your team; there are people on LinkedIn who do not.  Why jeopardize your career just because you are still bitter that the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997, and left Connecticut without any major sports team?  Not cool, Whalers!

9. DON’T have a coworker, friend, or family member take a photo of you using their mobile phone camera, standing in front of a wall or a tree.  Unless you are the photogenic type, these types of photos will never be as good as a professional headshot.  AND NO SELFIES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Photo taken on Easter

Photo taken by my friend on Easter

10. DO make yourself stand out, but be careful: this can be a double-edged sword.  You may be wearing a t-shirt that says something funny in your photo, but others may not get the joke.  Better to use a photo from that time you went sky diving, or snorkeling.  These types of “adventure photos” will create instant conversation when you connect with someone new on LinkedIn. Photos of you receiving an award also show you are valuable.

Hopefully by now, you ‘get the picture’.  By putting a little extra time, effort, and yes, a little money into your LinkedIn profile, you will be sure to be putting your best business face forward, and your online resume will be much more professional. First impressions are everything, and online, that impression is limited to your profile photos.

Additional advice on LinkedIn:

https://pkaudiovisual.com/2014/02/05/social-media-networking/

If we are not yet connected on LinkedIn, here is my profile:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/pkaudiovisual/

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AV Personality Types: Are you an A, B, C, or D?

What Personality Type Makes For A Good Audiovisual Design Company?

Any good company has to have a good mix of people in order to balance the work load.  By matching the personality type of with the job opening, employers can benefit from certain traits that may be inherent in some individuals, and not others.  Combining the different strengths (and often weakness) of individuals into a working recipe for success may take some trial and error as a company grows into maturity.

Below is a hypothesis I have been working on regarding consulting firms and integrators in the AV industry, specifically smaller firms.  My theory is that any good AV integrator or consultant should have one person who fits the following descriptions. Oftentimes, a person fits more than one, but the theory is that you need all four personalities to be ultimately successful, not matter how many team members you have:

AV Personality Type A

This is the Architect of the team; the Artist.  Someone who is an AV Type A is most concerned with the quality of the Audio, the Angles of the loudspeakers, what Amp to use, and the Aesthetics of the video system.  There is another word that starts with the letter A that may describe them…

AV Personality Type B

(or just AVB…? lol) The AV Type B is all about Business. They handle the Brochures and proposals and generate the workflow.  To the clients, they are a Buddy. They often love Bourbon, Buffets, and hand out of a lot Business Cards.  Type B may also handle the day to day business of invoicing, while keeping an eye on the project Budget.

AV Personality Type C

Type C excels in Communication with Client and the other people in the Company.  Type C may be a “jack of all trades, master of none” which makes them ideal Consultants and/or good at Coordination meetings.  Type C likes to talk about Control Systems, Cables, Connectors and Conduits. Custom is this person’s middle name.

AV Personality Type D

In the end, its all about the Deliverables, and the AV Type D is the one who gets it Done.  Computer-aided Drafting?  Done.  Documentation needed before a DeadlineDone.  Double mocha latte with whipped cream?  Buy them one, they probably Deserve it.

The Answer Is: All Of The Above

By mixing and matching each of the above AV personalities, you will find a certain synergy will develop in your firm.  Slow days will be less common as more business develops and projects get done more efficiently.  You can get by without one or two of the above personalities, but not for long, as you need the right balance of folks when things get busy, and when business is slow.

FitBit ($FIT) – Another “West Coast” IPO

$FIT FitBit Goes Public (And No One Seems To Mind)

Last week, FitBit stock started trading on the New York Stock Exchange at $30.40 per share, 52% higher than the price of the initial public offering (IPO) price of $20.00. (Source: CNBC.com) The stock closed on Friday June 20, 2015 at a price of $32.50 after reaching a high of $33.95 in less than two days of trading.

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

FitBit $FIT Two Day Chart of 5 Minute Candles

As I listened to the business media reaction to the IPO, I could not help but notice the lack of negative sentiment.  FitBit is already profitable, shushing the usual nay-sayers. The price action was also strong, which makes investors happy about it, and gives the media something positive to broadcast. And much like the FitBit product line, there were two distinct camps: those who love it, and those that simply don’t care (instead of the more common ‘love it or hate it’ division on Wall Street when it comes to IPOs.)

So, if the stock is anything like the FitBit product line, and its ‘fit’ community, then Wall Street may continue to see the love grow on $FIT next week, as the rest of the market deals with its 2015 mood swings.

Why $FIT Smells A Lot Like $GPRO $RWLK and $LOCO 

$FIT FitBit is what I like to call a “West Coast Stock”.  Not only is it headquartered in San Francisco, CA, but it also has a certain “tech appeal” that resonates in the hearts of what I call “West Coast Investors”. Notice that the word investor is included in the quotes.  An example of a West Coast Investor might be a current or former Facebook employee who has a lot of extra money and is looking to “invest” into the next Facebook ($FB) or Tesla ($TSLA) or Chipotle Mexican Grill ($CMG).

Since these West Coast Investors are early adopters of technology, and usually made their money on some form of technology, they also tend to invest into (chase) other technology stocks like GoPro ($GPRO), Gogo ($GOGO), or ReWalk Robotics Ltd ($RWLK) which is not located on the west coast, or even in America, but I still considered it a “West Coast IPO”.  ReWalk makes medical exoskeletons, and since a lot of people on the West Coast are gamers, and/or work in the video game industry, I think there was a video game / robot virtual connection, which pushed the stock up over $43 dollars per share. It settled Friday at $11.86, and I am sure there are lots of disgruntled folks who bought in much higher, and have decided to hold their shares as a long term investment.

Similarly, $LOCO had a strong IPO before shares topped out at their 52 week high of $41.70.  Its price is now $21.45 per share.  GoPro ($GRPO) got as high as $98.47 per share, before falling back to below $40 pps.  $GPRO closed this week at $57.97.  These momentum plays are subject to quick pullbacks after their initial run-up, which also illustrates that they are “overbought” by West Coast Investors who may also be learning to “trade”, getting stopped out on the red market days, only to see the stock recover again. This causes them to regret their sell, and so buy in again at the highs, driving the pps higher and higher until it can’t take any more.  The Wall Street analysts set their price targets lower, the bears emerge, and the momentum shifts drastically downward.

My hypothesis continues: I think that Wall Street is somewhat disconnected and late to the party on many of these “West Coast” IPOs, maybe because they have never eaten at El Pollo Loco, but more likely, they don’t understand the “West Coast Investor” attitude.  I don’t think they realize how much “fun money” is floating around Silicon Valley right now, and how many tech-centric thirty-somethings are jumping into the stock market, day trading on their cell phones based on overall uptrends in technology, or buying shares based on something they read on Twitter five minutes ago.

My theory is that the typical “west coast investor” doesn’t have more than a year or two experience with stocks; but since they have much more access than previous generations, and are more comfortable with transactions over the internet, they dove into the stock market head first, tablet in hand, and have since rode the tech sector trend upwards. Many “west coast investors” have taken huge losses because of their inexperience and devotion to the momentum stocks they purchased, but since they get paid so much, they don’t really care. They had money to lose, and lost it, while still having some luck in the market, keeping them in it.

Which brings me back to FitBit ($FIT), and how it fits this west coast investor perfectly. Its west coast tech; its cloud; its early-adopter; and more importantly, its not getting any hate from Wall Street (yet), so I expect the love to grow on this stock this week, with a lot of buy-and-hold-ers who may easily turn into bag-holders as the momentum eventually shifts.  The top is always hard to predict, (but not as hard as asking a FitBit user to give up their device: check out this post I wrote over a year ago, about how FitBit and other wearable tech can be very addictive.)

In full disclosure, I currently hold a very small position in $FIT.  I am currently bullish, but I could also exit the trade this week if the charts and uptrend do not hold up.  I am not a financial adviser and I am not giving a buy or sell recommendation, ever.