A long-time colleague of mine has always refused to take his tie off at work. The line (and I've heard it a million times) is, 'When I get to the hospital, I want to see the doctor wearing a white coat.' The message here is that he wants to be able to identify the doctor in the crowd.
As a recruiter, this colleague wants to portray a level of professionalism and show potential clients/candidates that he is someone that always takes his work, image, and brand as a corporate recruiter seriously. He wants to stand out in that way from the crowd. That line is always in the back of my mind at work. When I get dressed in the morning, when I interview candidates, when I visit clients, I am consciously thinking about what image I want to present.
After a recent exercise searching on LinkedIn, I know there are a lot of people who need to ask themselves the same question. The purpose of my search was to identify potential recruiters to consider in relation to opportunities at people2people. During what was only about a twenty minute search, I encountered six car selfies – a large number of which I would describe as holiday snaps – and a surprising number of grey silhouettes (or no photo at all). Now, people can interpret things in a lot of different ways, but this is what I took out of this exercise:
Selfie in the passenger seat of a car
Wake up to yourself. Why would I buy from you, and, if you're a recruiter, why would I trust you can deliver a client their next CFO when you're barely dressed and hanging out of a passenger side window
Holiday snap with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background
I'm out from the UK on my working holiday visa, and I'm very much treating it like a holiday.
Grey silhouettes/no photo
I don't want to be in the spotlight (which in small measure is a requirement of any recruiter and most professionals) or I'm too lazy to even post a photo on a social media platform (emphasis on 'social').
This might sound over the top, but you don't know what decisions others are making about you from your profile picture. You can avoid a lot of unwanted, unwarranted and untrue assumptions by asking yourself a few quick questions when deciding on your photo:
1 - Is my picture appropriate for the audience I want to reach?
If I'm a corporate recruiter working with qualified accountants or a similar professional, let's go for corporate. If I'm a fluffy dice salesman, car selfie all the way.
2 - Is my picture in line with my corporate brand?
If everyone else is suited and booted, don't be the person wearing a T-shirt and shorts in front of the Sydney Opera House. If your company focuses on digital/creative, then maybe lose the tie!
3 – Does the photo work on LinkedIn?
Is the image the right size, resolution, etc. for the small space you're working with? Do you stand out, or are you lost in the picture with everything else going on in the background?
I promise, if you're on the market and looking for work, then people are checking your LinkedIn profile. Before your CV is actioned and the phone rings, your profile picture is the first place someone's attention is drawn, and it helps form their first impression. Do you want that to be a picture of you hanging out of the passenger side window of a 'reasonably priced' car? (With apologies to Top Gear.) What you might think of your LinkedIn picture is your business, but others will have their own opinion. Sometimes the best route to use is the safest – and for the majority of professionals in a corporate environment, I would recommend a nice, high quality close up of you in a suit smiling away at the camera.