In the day to day pursuit of your career or business goals, your biggest mistake might be underestimating the importance of the first visual impression. Especially on LinkedIn, where most people research potential employers and service providers. While your resume may be stellar, it’s your profile photo that will have the most impact on how you are first perceived.

Yes, you need to look the part.

What happens when your first impression doesn’t meet expectations? It creates confusion. It can foster a lack of trust. Imagine searching for someone to fulfill a leadership role. You receive an interesting resume and research the candidate on LinkedIn. What you see is not someone ready to run an organization. Instead, it’s the opposite; a profile photo of your candidate on the beach, beer in hand, with their dog and a Frisbee. You immediately question their professionalism and how seriously they take their career.

This is why you need to have an industry appropriate, professional headshot. Your profile image – your first visual impression – must show you as a confident and competent professional. When you can do that, it makes the path to your resume and qualifications exponentially more inviting.

Here’s the hard truth.

We are all judged by the visual expectations of others. Sometimes never more harshly than while on our career path. Your casual LinkedIn profile image may not be giving a negative first impression. But wouldn’t it be better to be sure you’re presenting a great one?

Stay tuned.

Charlie