Whilst studying my MSc we had a class specifically dedicated to the LinkedIn platform, complete with a guest speaker, presentation and photographer. We were tediously taken through an hour-long presentation of a list of the do’s and don’ts which I’m sure I could have found through a quick google search in less than half the time. It all seemed glaringly obvious and quite frankly a waste of an hour, you left the room thinking if we’ve all managed to make it to a master’s level of education, surely, we don’t need a class on what seems to be a matter of common sense.
Making An Impression
A study completed by psychologists at Princeton University have estimated that in 50 milliseconds of seeing someone an impression has already been created. In a blink of an eye, you’ve likely already conjured up a good or bad impression probably compiled of various adjectives related entirely to their appearance.
In the ever-increasing digital age, an online impression is considered just as important and opinion influencing as a face-to-face interaction. A quick google search of ‘LinkedIn profile photo’ and screeds of blogs, articles and videos appear overloaded with tips, tricks and strategies on how to achieve the best photographic version of yourself possible.
A Different Way to Meet People
The digital revolution means that many introductions, conversations and meetings are now done initially through platforms like LinkedIn and your photo is the first focal point. Reading through various literature written on the importance of a LinkedIn display picture suggests that your photo should be ‘professional, sophisticated and approachable’. Which from my class I’d already understood this to be a pretty self-explanatory concept?
However, it is incredibly easy to go on to a profile of anyone and instantly be judgemental without reading further about their achievements, roles and information. I also think perhaps my view stems from being born within the generation where the use of social media became an ingrained part of daily life in my later teens. I think for generations that began their working lives without this, perhaps it’s just an unknown aspect, a profile picture being just that; a stage and formality in the online presence.
Is Everyone Judging You?
Despite either origin of understanding, the importance of the profile picture and the value it has in today’s working environment I think is considerable. I imagine everyone is guilty of being judgemental before reading someone’s profile, assuming you’re likely to find the minimal, or not even bothering to read it at all. Both aspects are important I believe. In this era of rapid technological advancements, it is necessary to keep with the pace and make the changes needed to stay relevant and in touch with the working world.
I think overall though it’s important to perhaps consider both arguments. I think in myself I’ll make a conscious effort to consider the credentials past the potentially amusing profile picture and to read further into experience and achievements. The only person limited by this attitude is me through this somewhat shallow means of scrolling. However, taking the time and effort to appear professional, I believe, should be an aim of anyone who wants to take themselves seriously. I guess as it’s said, you wouldn’t show up to an interview with a creased shirt, maybe it seems your representation on LinkedIn isn’t and shouldn’t be any different. And don’t be a clown.