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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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Another scandal..Another scandal... There is a new investigation into alleged misconduct and improper prescriptive practices by Cincinnati VA chief of staff according to cryptic messages from the agency. At the center of the allegations is acting chief of staff is a thoracic surgeon Barbara Temeck, MD. The investigation involves prescriptive privileges and scripts written for numerous people including VISN 10 director Jack Hetrick. Hetrick recused himself from the investigation since it involves his wife... [read on] Get the rest Numerous state attorney generals are demanding that the US Department of Veterans Affairs reinstate GI Bill benefits for veterans defrauded by for-profit colleges. Attorney generals (AGs) in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington sent Secretary Bob McDonald a letter demanding restoration of GI Bill benefits. The justification is that for-profit colleges uses deceptive tactics to recruit veterans while the agency failed to verify education quality. According to Illinois AG Lisa Madigan: “Veterans earn educational benefits through their heroic service to our country… They should not return home and become targets of predatory, bogus colleges whose only interest in our veterans is to profit off them. It’s critical that our tax dollars allow student veterans to get a true education and the opportunities it provides.” The problem with the schools was that they promised veterans jobs after graduation that never materialized. In fact, those colleges provided such low quality educations that employers do not accept nor would other colleges accept them for transfer credits. Recruiters used proven psychotherapy techniques to manipulate veterans into enrolling. VA then paid benefits without verifying the claims made by such colleges. Veterans used up the benefits without the result they were promised. GI BILL RESTORATION STRATEGY The AGs are also suggesting VA adopt the following four strategies to protect veterans moving forward. According to Progress Illinois, those strategies are: Exercising current federal statutory authority to provide relief to these veterans. In cases where the VA has authorized the use of benefits contrary to its own governing statutes and regulations, federal law (38 U.S.C. §503) provides the VA discretion to offer equitable relief that would give back to the veterans full eligibility and entitlement to their benefits that they have lost from the schools’ conduct. Restoring these benefits would allow the veterans to obtain an education that will help them advance their careers. Triggering Automatic Reviews. The VA should establish that a review to exercise this discretion will automatically take place in any of the following cases: (1) when the U.S. Department of Education, a state regulatory agency, or a state attorney general takes a regulatory or enforcement action against a school; (2) when a court enters a judgment against a school, or (3) upon application by a veteran or a group of veterans alleging that an education program or college has utilized advertising, sales, or enrollment practices which are erroneous, deceptive, or misleading. Taking Proactive Steps To Provide Full and Accurate Information. The VA should take proactive steps to guarantee that veterans will be furnished full and accurate information about their education options to prevent them from enrolling in schools that employ aggressive and misleading marketing practices. Increasing Cooperation. The VA should continue and increase its support of efforts of state regulatory agencies and attorneys general in protecting veterans from misconduct. So what do you think about the plan? Should veterans receive the benefit, or harm, of their own educated choice of attending for-profit colleges? Or, should VA reinstate the GI Bill benefits of veterans defrauded? I used to be rather cynical about this, but VA does have a fiduciary duty to ensure colleges provide the quality education they promise before approving a veteran’s attendance. The past two presidential administrations were clearly asleep at the wheel while veterans were ripped off.