Before anyone reads a single word of your LinkedIn profile, they've already formed an opinion of you.
That's because the first thing recruiters see is your photo, and it can be the difference between someone clicking through to your profile, or not.
In a recent LinkedIn post, James Caan, CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw Group, noted that a LinkedIn profile with a professional photo "can make or break you."
Whether you're currently job searching or hoping to maintain professional connections, LinkedIn serves a valuable tool to gain traction in the corporate world. But if you fail to choose a strong photo, your profile will quickly be passed over and forgotten.
Here three major missteps you might be making that keep you from catching recruiters' eyes:
Not having a photo.
The biggest mistake LinkedIn users make photo-wise is failing to include one. In fact, profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be clicked on than those without, according to Caan.
Not only does a professional-looking photo show recruiters that you're detail-oriented and driven, it allows them to instantly remember who you are weeks or months after meeting at a networking event. "You're guaranteed that the recruiter will remember the personal connection you've established, and chances are you'd get the invitation for the interview," Caan says.
Not looking the part.
While a crisp jacket-and-tie headshot will impress the Wall Street crowd, it might make you look stuffy to a laid-back startup.
Brand yourself based on the specific job you're seeking and how you want your potential employer to remember you, Caan says. For example, if you work in government, consider including your country's flag in the background, or if you work in a creative industry, do something outside the box, he suggests. If you don't look the part, it's likely you won't land an interview.
Not choosing a quality photo.
Always take the time to find a high-quality, professional-looking shot, no matter how creative or offbeat you want the photo itself to be. Simply cropping yourself out of an existing picture will look pixelated and sloppy. "It shows that you didn't take the time to brand yourself properly," Caan says. "If you can't take the time to brand yourself, a recruiter may link that to the fact that you wouldn't be able to brand the future company to your best ability."
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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