In the real world, when we meet someone face to face but before we have the opportunity to speak, they are already starting to build a mental image and first impression of us. They create a back story, imagine what we sound like and even how the conversation would start. It’s instant, it’s automatic & it’s based on what they see.
The same thing happens on LinkedIn … except there, all of this is conjured up by and based on our Profile.
In particular, the top part of our Profile – the Introduction Card – serves exactly that purpose and creates this first impression. Above all, it has two very visual parts that we need to use to influence and, to an extent, direct that first impression.
Those elements are the banner & our photo.
Let’s take the banner first. This is “prime real estate” where we outline our intentions on LinkedIn. If you are someone who works for yourself then an image depicting you or your work would be great (canva.com can help in this respect if you are struggling). If you work at a company, then perhaps create an image which includes the branding that reflects the services or products you offer.
Never just leave the default one there – it really is a massive opportunity lost if you do!
The photo is equally important. Put aside your modesty and upload one. Help people remember you! Give them a face to associate with all that great information in your profile.
What sort of photo? Well, my rule of thumb is that you should use one that reflects people will see when they meet you in person, at a meeting or in a business environment. No holiday or wedding pics please!
These two visual markers influence everything we read afterwards so use them effectively!
Takeaway Point: use a custom banner & photo on your Profile for a strong opening impression.