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pulse- what-your-image-selling

Matthew Flynn

DVOP at New York State Department of Labor

Recently I was contacted by an individual who wanted to help me improve my financial situation. They had a Linkedin photo of themselves sitting on a 1970’s pattern couch wearing a T-shirt with what appeared to be their son.  The photo had a haze that screamed 1980’s era photo and the back drop also looked like the 1980’s paneling used in house trailers of the time.    I guess by now you are seeing the mismatch.  Maybe it was a scam or maybe it was someone who thought a 30 year old photo was a better sell for them; to tell you the truth, I will never know.    It got me thinking about how many will never get known by a perspective employer because of the photo (or lack of) they are using as their profile image.

Appearance is 55% of the Personal Sale

The importance of image is nothing new.  In 1967 UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian conducted a famous communication experiment that compared the results of visual and verbal messages.  From that study, it can be generally concluded that 55% of your received message comes from visual reception.     That percentage has been disputed over the years which Olivia Mitchell covers in “Mehrabian and nonverbal communication”

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Nevertheless, the professional community has universally recognized the priority vision is given for  making judgments.  This makes sense because at the most primitive cognition levels, we have to recognize friend from foe before a foe is close enough to harm us.  Vision is what gives us that instant and distant information that has been vital to survival throughout our existence on this planet.    Even though this is old information, it is still relevant to our digitized social media world.

Appearance is 19% of the Digital Sale

 Today’s digital world is still judging you by the picture you use to represent yourself.  “An eye-tracking heatmap created by job site TheLadders found that recruiters spend 19% of their time on your online profile looking at your picture. Not as much time is spent on your skills or past work experience. Therefore, your picture plays a big role in whether you're able to interest a recruiter enough to reach out to you. You want to look like a credible, confident, and professional person who anyone would want to have in their office.” (Giang, Vivian. "8 Profile Picture Rules Every Professional Should Follow." Business Insider. November 12, 2013. Accessed September 23, 2015.)

Photo Self Evaluation Tool

It is not always easy to know what affect your photo is having. I for one fully understand how difficult it is to get an honest opinion from friends who either don’t want to hurt your feelings or are making judgments based on a personal bias rather than a professional one.  The best unbiased profile analysis tool that I know of is .  After setting up a free account and scoring random profile images, you can upload your image and have random people tell you how they perceive you from your photo.   They don’t know you, so they will point out all your flaws.  

Pointers to Improve Image flaws

Since how to have a great profile image has been covered by many knowledgeable and excellent writers, I will let them tell you the pointers.  A quick internet search will give you a stack of great articles. Here are a couple of articles I found to get you started;
Thank you 
 Matthew Flynn
Twitter: @pef273

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