Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Spinach in the Teeth of Your LinkedIn Profile

A true friend will tell you expediently and directly when you have spinach in your teeth.  These valuable human mirrors are here to preserve your credibility, for the simple reason that in most social and business settings, spinach, lipstick or other foreign objects in your teeth send a negative message, which may or may not be true:  that you have poor grooming habits, that you don't pay attention, etc.  Perception is indeed reality if the spinach in your teeth remains unchecked.  For that reason, I very much appreciate when friends perform this service for me. 

Dear colleagues, I've written a few posts on proofing and pumping up your LinkedIn profiles.  Although LinkedIn emulates some of the more informal social media channels like Facebook, it continues to be the social media channel for professionals and for businesses.  Our LinkedIn profiles are essentially our eCommerce websites.  Our customers -- potential clients and employers alike -- source and preview our services and our reputations on LinkedIn.  Yet, there's still spinach in the teeth of some of your LinkedIn profiles:
  • One recent profile update included a wonderful new head shot photo; yet, the headline on their profile has been misspelled for over 2 years.  And attention to detail, like in most professions, is a critical trait that their internal and external clients require;
  • While we're on the subject of pictures:  I am no great beauty, and I hate getting my picture taken.  Yes, I confess:  I used a badge photo (e.g., the photo from my work badge) on LinkedIn for a while, because it was one of the few head shots taken of me where I don't look like Frodo's little sister.  My dear friend Anne pointed out the spinach in the teeth of my LinkedIn badge photo and referred me to a nice photographer for my current head shot;
  • Still on the subject of photos:  please don't use head shots of you wearing sunglasses.  Banking institutions ask you not to wear sunglasses into their establishments:  potential customers on LinkedIn would like to make eye contact with you in the same way, lest they suspect you of felonious intentions;
  • One more photo comment: those of us who have met you in person can tell that you're using your decades-old Bar / Bat Mitzvah / Confirmation / Coming-of-Age head shot.  Either embrace your vintage or invest in a talented colorist, please; 
  • I just did a search for "manger" (the common misspelling of "manager" on most LinkedIn profiles and sadly a lot of job applications) on LinkedIn:  the search produced 205,274 results (By the way, my first-level LinkedIn contacts come up first in this search:  dear colleagues, please review your profiles!!).
Pump up your LinkedIn power:  ask a friend to review your page to ensure that you have no spinach in the teeth of your LinkedIn profile.  It can only help your reputation, and your earning potential.

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