Let’s face it. In this interconnected, online 24/7 world, the notion of personal anonymity is a thing of the past. Even if we are not on social media, we are still likely to show up in a web search because of some other person’s actions.
Recently, I tested this theory when I did a web search on two noncombatants in the of the social media war–my granddaughters ages 3 and 8 months. Despite not having any social media trappings, both were easily found in birth announcements, on family members Facebook pages, online photo albums, and other webpages.
So, now that the notion of personal anonymity has been shattered, we can still have great control over our online presence by managing our anonymity.
Simply put, managed anonymity allows us to put our best foot forward in the social media and online world by creating content that we control. This includes the things we want others to know about us, while excluding those things we don’t want the world to know.
Your LinkedIn profile picture is an integral part of managing your anonymity. Donna Serdula, author of the book, LinkedIn Makeover says, “Your LinkedIn profile picture is how the world sees you.” As the business profile of record, your LinkedIn profile and picture has the potential to be seen by over 200 million LinkedIn users and millions more non LinkedIn users. Why? The powerful search engine optimization (SEO) tools used by LinkedIn, typically makes your profile the first thing in the stack of information found about you in a web search. Recruiters, customers, and other interested parties usually look at the items on the top of the stack first. Talk about opportunities to manage your anonymity!
Research from the career and job advice website Careerealism reveals LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 50-70% more inquires than profiles without a photo. Want to effectively manage your anonymity and the ability to use LinkedIn to accomplish your goals? Then don’t make these profile picture mistakes:
- Don’t crop your picture from group photo
- Don’t use a picture taken with a cell phone
- Don’t post your picture without being professionally dressed.
Last year, LinkedIn began rolling out changes to the profile page; one immediately noticeable change is that the profile photo is now larger and more prominent. Like it or not, LinkedIn is putting more emphasis on the way a person looks. Now it is time to take an objective look at your photo and ask yourself if it is conveying the right message for your career. How effective is your current profile picture in managing your anonymity?
Washington, DC based career coach, Norine Dagliano, has contributed these tips for creating an effective LinkedIn profile picture:
1. Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile photo is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
2. Smile! Your face should radiate warmth and approachability.
3. Photos should be professionally done. If possible, please no glamour shots.
For these next tips, I talked to Mel Bland, an Austin, TX based professional photographer, and my brother, for his insights on an effective LinkedIn profile photo.
4. Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. (Save those funky T-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or busy/crazy patterns for Facebook.)
5. Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in–soft, dark V-necks look great. Black always works; however avoid white.
6. LinkedIn pictures upload and look best when they are 200 x 200 high resolution pixels.
The Bottom Line: Manage Your Anonymity–Get the picture right.
On their first night together, the newlywed couple goes to change. The new bride comes out of the bathroom, all showered and wearing her beautiful robe. The proud husband says, “Dear, we are married now, you can open your robe.” The beautiful young woman opens her robe, and he is astonished. “Oh, oh, aaaahhh!” he exclaims, “My God, you are so beautiful. Let me take your picture!” Puzzled she asks, “My picture?” He answers, “Yes my dear, so I can carry your beauty next to my heart forever.”She smiles and he takes her picture, and then he heads into the bathroom to shower. He comes out wearing his robe and the new wife asks, “Why do you wear a robe? We are married now.” At that, the man opens his robe and she exclaims, “Oh, OH, OH MY, let me get a picture.” He beams and asks, “Why?” She answers, “So I can get it enlarged!”
LinkedIn Ninja’s are never questioned about the quality of the picture they are presenting to the world, because they know the importance of having a great profile picture as they master the art of managing their anonymity.