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The New American Dreamer: Ready for Your Closeup?

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Staying with our LinkedIn leg of our journey (read our previous story) let’s get to uploading a photo of yourself. As much as we don’t like it this photo is a key piece to your profile. If a picture is worth a thousand words than a really good picture of you may be worth a thousand bucks or more. OK maybe that is an oversimplification, but we all know that today’s world is visually driven and that the Internet has only raised the stakes, so let’s take a moment to look closer at choosing a photo.

When looking to make your way in the business world you can help yourself by finding an image of you that shows everyone looking at it that you are professional, presentable and most of all, that you understand how to choose a professional photo. Once the photo has met those criteria and only after that should you get “creative” with your online photo.

What I mean by this is that your best bet is to simply take a great color photo of your face, looking happy, and just start there. Smiling is always a plus. This photo can be, or might be, one that you see next to your bio on a company website. These types of photos almost always work best for a LinkedIn profile unless your last job was at Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Of course there are exceptions. If you’re in a creative position such as Graphic Designer, you might do something tasteful but keep it simple. Sometimes simply going all B&W on us is enough to stand out in a distinct and interesting way. But if you’re searching for a position on Wall Street or looking for a business partner for your bakery, my advice is to first keep it simple and think about some things to avoid:

Shots of you sitting on a park bench eating lunch. Seriously keep it to your face, no body shots and no funky backdrops.

Looking hysterical, it’s better to just smile or appear neutral.

Shots of your pets, a sock puppet or an avatar. (You’d be surprised.)

Changing it every month. This shows indecision and insecurity. Keep a photo up for long periods of time so people can learn who you are.

Special effects. Save the sepia tones for your Facebook page.

Now please hear me: You do not have to hire a professional to get this photo done! If you have a professional photograph that you like that’s great but this is not necessary.Have a friend do it. If you hate it, you can change it just don’t keep changing it. Most photos taken by a friend should be easily uploaded to LinkedIn but there are technological specifications.

Your LinkedIn picture can be as large as 4MB in size and can be in the following file formats: GIF, JPG, and PNG. It must also be within the maximum limit of 4000 x 4000 pixels. To upload a photo to LinkedIn simply go to your profile page and click on the space where your photo would be that says “Edit Photo”.

If you’ve been reading along and perhaps have your own business and want to start to see how LinkedIn can better help you then click on the solutions page and see ways in which LinkedIn is working directly with small businesses.

But for many of us there’s a one more important leg on our LinkedIn journey that needs discussing next week, that of actually “linking” up with others and getting recommendations. We’re getting there.

So for now just smile and say cheese.

Jason Veduccio is a hard-working entrepreneur following his dreams, and he wants you to dream, too. Drawing on his experiences working with companies on marketing, technology, hiring, and workplace issues, his regular column will demystify the job search process and identify strategies for moving up the corporate ladder. Founder of In1Concepts, Jason also knows the ins and outs of launching a new business. He welcomes your questions and can be reached at jason@in1concepts.com.

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