You may think the whole concept of “Contact” is a no-brainer – phone, email at the very least – and embellishment if you wish. Done and done. Possibly, but in addition to that – you have to make a potential client, employer, search firm or customer want to pursue you and actually make contact. The information on the Contact Page doesn’t have to be elaborate – but it does have to satisfy some practical and psychological criteria.
Since LinkedIn is a professional networking site, many of the conventions used on social media are simply not appropriate in this arena. Maybe that picture of you with a parrot on your shoulder was the best you ever took – the real/ideal “you” – but sadly, it’s not the way to go. Here are a few tips from the perspective of one professional searching for another professional.
Pictures Are Important
It’s easy to see why we avoid posting a pix – fraught as they are with self-esteem issues (unless you’re wildly photogenic) and the effort it takes to obtain a good shot, but it is the first thing people look for because it’s a way of getting a sense of who it is they will be contacting.
If you don’t post a picture, you become harder to “find” – there’s no one to connect with on a subliminal, psychological, emotional level. Likewise, posting cute or endearing photos, with other people in the mix, is distracting. Whoever is looking to contact you had one goal in mind – a business goal, and showing them extraneous information about you – your love of parrots and tropical drinks with your surf buddies – this too makes it more difficult to find the professional you.
Best advice – take the time to get that perfect shot. It doesn’t have to be taken by a photographer, but it must convey the professional, but approachable you. On the other hand, with all the young talent available in a big city – why not take advantage of a photographer’s eye for composition, lighting etc. – it could relieve some of the anxiety of posting. Bottom line – yes, pictures are a must-have.
How silly. Of course it should be current, but surprisingly people often neglect to update cell and email information. This is where your message on voice mail is critical. Personalize it – tell us who we have reached – don’t just rattle off the number and consider your duty done. Just like your picture, there has to be something in your voice and message that assures the caller they’ve reached the right person, first literally, and then potentially, as someone with whom doing business would be great. Same rules apply – forget clever, musically augmented versions of you, hip lingo or a cryptic, quickly slurred ”leave a message”, which makes it seem as if you’re bored with the whole concept of communication.
As a search firm, these are some mistakes we see over and over again. The advice seems self-evident, common sense and logical, but perhaps having so many social, professional, and entertainment media “personae” to construct, we have become lax about projecting a consistently reachable and appealing image of a business person. The lines are blurred – to no one’s advantage. Not the person looking for business talent – nor the person hoping to be discovered. Make yourself easy to find on many levels – not just the most obvious. Give it some thought and effort. It speaks volumes about your capabilities. We may be a multi-platform, speed of light culture, but we still expect to “connect” before we contact.