• best profile photos

    The Power of Pictures: 3 First Impressions That Your Best Profile Photos Make

    Cornell University recently published what we’ve all been thinking. People judge others based on their online profile picture. Surprised?

    You shouldn’t be!

    When it comes to profile pictures, this adage rings true. “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

    In sales, we know there are only 7 seconds on the phone before someone decides if they love or hate you. You may have even less time when it comes to a profile picture.

    In an age where social overlaps with business online, what do your best profile photos say about you?

    Here are 3 first impressions that your best profile photos make.

    1. To Selfie or Not to Selfie? That is the Question!

    When it comes to selecting the best profile photos many people are stuck between a selfie and a hard place.

    Most business people will say selecting less than a professional headshot is bad. And while you don’t want to look too casual, let’s talk about times when selfies are ok.

    The key to selecting the best profile photos is choosing ones that are high quality has good lighting and looks natural.

    Selfie deniers will say the photos are poor quality, have weird angles and often bad lighting.

    If you are guilty of taking selfies like this, do not use them. Seek the help of a professional.

    But if you can take selfies with great lighting and angles they can look natural.

    Let’s say your professional photo is a floating head on a neutral background. That doesn’t tell the story of who you are.

    If you are over-dressed you could come off as stuffy or elite. These qualities are generally not likable.

    Sometimes photography comes down to money. If this is an issue, a smartphone tripod and selfie light ring go for around $10 each on Amazon.

    There is no replacement for high-quality, natural-looking professional images. But a good selfie doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

    Your best profile photos are of you in your natural habitat. They tell a story about you.

    2. Managing Your Personal Brand with Your Best Profile Photos

    Your profile photo gives off messages that are both open and hidden.

    An open message includes elements that are deliberate.

    If your profile picture depicts your spouse and kids, that’s a message of family values. If it was taken on your most recent sky-diving adventure, that says you seek an adrenaline rush.

    Hidden messages are much more subtle. 

    Eye contact reads as confidence. Taken from a distance, it signals insecurity. A head tilt can read as lacking independence.

    Like most things, your best profile photos are subjective. 

    They will bring up different responses in people so it’s important to be true to your personal brand. You can’t please everyone.

    It’s best to choose a photo you love and dig your heels in. Be consistent. Find a picture that works and stick with it.

    3. Are You a Real Character?

    When you’ve selected the right photo, don’t be afraid to get creative.
    With the help of a thumbnail maker or filter app, you can make your best profile photos stand out in a crowd.

    Something simple like a sketch filter can change a drab photo into a fab one.
    Thumbnail creators allow you to put your face on many different backgrounds. You can try bright colors to elicit a better response.

    Photofunia is a website that imposes your picture on many backgrounds. These range from the pages of a book to a billboard. Even the Picadilly Arcade!

    If your personal brand is playful, show it off! What we know is people want to see who you are.

    You can take it to a new level by generating a toon as an avatar.

    Online avatar makers include Power Puff Girls, Mad Men, and Bitstrips. If it makes sense to do so, play around with these popular avatar generators.

    If you are more serious and cartoons are not for you, a Twibbon may help you express your inner advocate. Twibbon avatars include ribbon banners for things like Livestrong and Autism Awareness.

    Your Worst Profile Photo: Never Do This One Thing

    Always use a picture of yourself, real or avatar. It resonates with people.

    If you haven’t already, you will come across someone who ignores this important rule. 

    You know the type!  They use a picture of a pet or fictional character. Anything other than the actual human on the other side of the screen.

    This is a big “no” in the world of social media. Psychologists say it shows neurosis. It can also seem like you’re hiding something.

    You know who uses pictures that aren’t their own? Trolls and catfish.

    If you want to build trust and rapport with your audience, use your best profile photos. Avoid photos of things that aren’t of you.

    Have Fun with the Process

    Some people contend there are no more first impressions. 

    The first thing someone does when they schedule a meeting is Google the person they are meeting with. Even before a first encounter.

    Yet, you’re unlikely to find people willing to admit they will judge someone based on a profile photo. But let’s face it, we all do. And the impression is unshakeable.

    Expect that you’re being judged and don’t lose out.

    Always make sure to select your best profile photos. Choose pictures that speak to your personal brand and are appropriate for all social platforms. Be consistent.

    If it seems like a lot of work, relax. Enjoy the process. Because this isn’t about the photo on your profile page.  Is it?

    It’s about you.

    What feelings do you want people to have when they see you? Do you want them to feel happy? relatable? intimidated? confused?

    Do you want them to see a professional? An artist? An advocate? A potential love interest?

    You have the power to control that image. It starts with the thumbnail image on top of your profile page. It ends with a new business connection or friend.

    The possibilities are endless. But you won’t know unless you try, so get to snapping!

  • looking for a job

    Learn How to Compose a Unique Cover Letter While Looking for a Job

    Let’s face it: no matter the size of the city where you live, the job market can be a nightmare.

    Smaller cities have fewer employers and that means fewer job openings. And bigger cities have higher populations, meaning there are loads of people looking at the same job openings as you. Big city or small, you’re already up against plenty of competition when looking for a job.

    But let’s say you make it through the slush pile and a job recruiter actually picks up your resume: did you know that he or she is likely to spend only 6 seconds looking at your resume before determining whether to read on or toss your CV in the trash?

    The lesson here is this: you need to stand out in a competitive job market. If you’re looking for a job and you’re frustrated at the lack of interest, you need to look a step further than your resume/CV: take a good look at your cover letter.

    What is a Cover Letter?

    A cover letter is a personalized, well-thought introduction to your qualities, background, and personality. It’s more personalized than a resume. A cover letter is almost like an elevator speech: somewhat more conversational, but still meant to be short and to-the-point. It answers the questions a resume can’t, like: Why do you want to work here? Are you a culture fit? Why should we hire you, and not him or her?

    A cover letter typically includes a high-level summary of your background, highlighting key skills and experience that relate directly to the job for which you’re applying. This is different than your resume, which includes detailed job background – where, when, and what.

    A cover letter should also accurately reflect what’s posted on job-related social media such as LinkedIn. Ensure there are no inconsistencies – this is a red flag to a future employer when you’re looking for a job.

    The Key When Looking for a Job? Passion

    Most companies would rather hire an enthusiastic, passionate junior employee than a bored, “I-could-do-this-job-blindfolded” senior employee. Energy is everything.

    When you’re looking for a job, it’s imperative that your enthusiasm comes through loud and clear in your cover letter. Include the reason you’re most interested in this particular company or position.

    Even better if you can touch on non-professional interests that relate: volunteer positions you’ve held, conferences you’ve attended in your free time, that sort of thing. If you’re applying to be marketing director at an aquarium, share your interests in scuba diving. If you’re applying to be a teacher, share your volunteer work with tutoring kids.

    Read your cover letter aloud to a friend or family member and ask them, “does this sound like I’m excited about the job? About the industry?” If they say no, you’ve got more work to do.

    Remember, you want to come across as likable, and enthusiasm about the opportunity is one of the best ways to do this.

    Highlight Key Successes

    Nothing jumps out at an employer like a statement that says you saved your last company $200k in overhead or 80 hours in reworking inventory layouts. Recruiters love numbers: measurable, definable value.

    Don’t be afraid to brag a little, either. Many candidates are worried they may come off as arrogant, but the opposite is true: when looking for a job, you need to sell yourself early and often in order to compete with the candidate pool.

    Also, try to tie your key successes into what you can add to this particular company. If you’re applying to sell financial services to clients, you may not want to share your record typing speeds (but you do want to share this if you’re applying to be a content writer.) Make sure that your achievements make sense given the role.

    Include Key Words

    Your cover letter may go through a system that searches for keywords. If this is the case, the recruiter may not even see your application unless it meets the keyword requirements.

    But even if this isn’t the case, you still want to ensure that your cover letter has several of the keywords listed in the job description. Recruiters are trained to search for these to ensure that candidates are properly matched to each role.

    Read the job description carefully (which you should have done anyway) and ensure you touch on the key concepts. Just don’t overdo it, and definitely, don’t copy and paste from the job description.

    Be Creative

    Creativity is one of the most important ways to stand out when looking for a job. Different is good – it makes you memorable! For this reason, do not utilize a cover letter template from a word processor. Recruiters have seen thousands of these templates and they can smell ’em from a mile away.

    There are plenty of online resources that provide more creative templates, or you could simply draft up your own. Many firms, particularly start-ups or those in more progressive industries (think tech), will love your unique approach.

    Consider also the inclusion of a professional head shot. Your LinkedIn page should have one, anyway, and this is an opportunity to show that you’re professional and heavy-hitting in the job market.

    Proofread

    Ensure that you don’t use the exact same cover letter for multiple companies: this will damper your enthusiasm and your cover letter will sound artificial.

    But it’s ok to use similar cover letters since some of the information about your experience and skill set will remain the same. In this case, it’s very important that you always check your company names before sending. Particularly if you’ve stated the company name multiple times throughout the document. Proofread multiple times. Nothing is more embarrassing – and nothing will get you booted quicker! – than a mishap like this.

    On average, every job opening has more than 250 applicants. This is a wide net of competitors! When looking for a job, producing a strong cover letter that demonstrates enthusiasm, experience, and professionalism can only help you in securing an interview.

    We can help you with looking good and putting your best face forward, but the rest is up to you. If you’re looking for a job and don’t yet have a cover letter meeting these criteria, put one together and start including with your job applications to set yourself above the rest.

  • dating profile

    5 Tips For Crafting Honest Content That Will Bring Your Dating Profile to Life

    Over 49 million people have tried online dating.

    And 1 out of every 5 people has asked someone to help them create the perfect online dating profile!

    If you feel like your profile doesn’t show who you really are, is too much of a cliche, or just isn’t giving you the matches you want, then you need to read this post. 

    In it, we’re sharing with you the top 5 tips to creating the kind of profile that will attract the partner of your dreams – or just a fun fling!

    1. Use Multiple Photos

    Like it or not, your photos are probably the most important part of your dating profile. 

    But which ones are going to encourage potential matches to actually take the time to read your profile?

    First of all, you need to show at least 3 photos, all showing a different side of you. 

    While it can be tempting to upload a sexy gym selfie, a photo of you from a night when you got really glammed up, or a somewhat revealing beach shot, it’s not the best way to go. 

    Why? 

    Because you want to show people how you look every day. (Besides, there’s nothing more humiliating than the moment when your date doesn’t recognize you because you look a lot different than you did online.)

    Instead, focus on photos that show you doing what you love!

    If you’re a travel bug, why not include a picture of you standing in front of a famous monument? If you’re obsessed with working out, instead of a gym selfie, why not upload a snap of you finishing a race or a hike? 

    Oh, and while we’re on the subject – please no photos of you and another person that is the same gender you’re trying to match. Even if it’s “just a friend” or even a family member. It’s confusing, and it looks shady. 

    2. Make Your Expectations Clear

    When you’re crafting your dating profile, it’s important to be direct about what you’re looking for. 

    This doesn’t mean it’s ok to make comments about the specific body types and income levels you’re interested in. Instead of making a “wish list” of your perfect match, talk about what you think your ideal mate would enjoy doing with you and be interested in. 

    For example, instead of “Looking for a guy over 6 feet tall with at least two cars who owns his own home,” try something like, “If you’re into classic horror movies, have a weird obsession with meme culture, and always want to learn something new, we’d be a great fit.”

    Including this kind of honesty in your dating profile saves everyone time (especially you!) and will help to cut out people that aren’t on the same page as you. Plus, anything that makes “The Talk” less stressful is always a good thing!

    A word about politics… In this day and age, putting your political beliefs on your dating profile, no matter which “side” you’re on, can open you up to lots of trouble. It can also help you to eliminate people that you’d never consider based on their political beliefs. 

    In the end, it’s really up to you if you choose to talk about your political beliefs in your profile. But if you do, keep things brief. This isn’t a soapbox or an op-ed column. 

    3. Spend Time On Your Username

    Your username is one of the first things people will see on your profile. If it’s offensive, obscene, or just a random string of numbers and letters, people aren’t exactly going to be lining up to message you. 

    The good news? 

    You can be as creative and humorous as you want to be. This is the time to break out those puns, to reference your favorite TV show, or to include a hint about your physical appearance. 

    Your username is basically a hook that you’re dropping into the great online dating pool. Is yours intriguing enough to get your dream person to click on your profile? 

    Lyrics from your favorite song, pop culture references, and even jokes about current events are all great ideas!

    4. Use Your Spellcheck

    Please. It’s simple, it’s free, and it only takes a few minutes. 

    Especially if you’re looking for a more long-term relationship, having a profile that’s filled with spelling and grammatical errors isn’t going to make you look your best. 

    It makes you seem like you just don’t care and weren’t willing to put in the extra effort when you created your profile – even if that’s not the case. 

    Also, it can make people question your intelligence level, and even doubt that some of the things you said in your profile were true.

    A guy who claims to have graduated from Harvard but can’t tell the difference between “your” and “you’re?” Yeah, right. 

    5. Ask Your Friends For Advice

    Finally, there’s nothing wrong with crowdsourcing the photos and content you include in your profile!

    Since it seems like pretty much everyone has tried online dating at some point, asking your friends for advice about what to say and what not to say is an awesome idea.

    If they ended up meeting their mate online, then you definitely want their advice!

    But friends also know so much about you, and they’ll help you to present yourself in the best possible light – while keeping you honest about what you really want in a partner. 

    These friends will also help you to figure out what your best qualities are. Sometimes, it can be hard for us to evaluate ourselves and point out what makes us so awesome.

    Rely on your friends to build you up, and to help you to find out what people love the most about you. 

    You’re Ready To Craft An Awesome Online Dating Profile!

    Thanks for these awesome tips, you’re one step closer to landing the partner of your dreams! 

    Your online profile is incredibly important, so make sure you really take your time and put thought into creating it if you want to see quality matches. 

    Need more dating advice? 

    Check out our website and blog to learn what else you can do to make this the year you find your soulmate! We can even give you a complete profile overhaul!

  • brand yourself

    Why It’s Important To Brand Yourself

    There’s no question that companies can build their products and services into brands of sizes that eclipse understanding (hello, Pepsi, Burger King, World Wildlife Fund), but can a person? The good news is, yes! You’re going to have to work hard to brand yourself, but you can do it, and there’s help available!

    Branding Yourself Takes Work

    It’s never been more important to brand yourself when it comes to standing out from the crowd when applying for jobs.

    The publishing world calls the flood of submissions it gets – unasked – from writers who want their books published “the slush pile.” The same can be said for the hundreds or even thousands of applicants who apply for a single job opening.

    It is essential to brand yourself on your job application and resume so you can rise above the slush.

    But wait!

    There’s a lot you can do before it even gets to the job application stage.

    How about making yourself look great so prospective employers can contact you? You could be found on an employment website based on your skill set.

    The biggest of those websites is LinkedIn, and to be an active member, you need a top-notch LinkedIn profile.

    You may be thinking, “This is about work and jobs. It’s not supposed to be all fancy and braggy.” Well, you need to adjust your thinking so you can get that job. Here are some things you should know:

    • As of March 2017, there were 2 billion profiles on LinkedIn. No, not even one percent of them are going to be going after the jobs you are. But a fraction of one percent? That’s a lot of people you beat out to even get that first phone interview.
    • Your profile is a picture. It needs to be much more than buzz words burped out onto a screen in list or bullet format. Paint the readers a beautiful image of who you are so they can picture how well you’ll fit into their workplace.
    • Use an “I” voice and make sure to hype your strengths!

    Brand Yourself with a Great Picture

    We’ve all heard the cliche about the person who was at the front of the line for a job and then the prospective company’s human resources person unearthed pictures of binge drinking, animal cruelty, extreme politicism, and other embarrassing and potentially illegal things on the applicant’s social media.

    You know how that ended up, right?

    Don’t be that person! In fact, when you brand yourself and then continuously polish your brand, you’re on the right path to avoid these costly and impactful mistakes.

    Some tips to help you get the picture:

    • You do, actually, need a picture that shows you facing the camera, with a professional outfit or one that would be (no pun intended) well-suited for your prospective workplace. Think of hair and makeup touchups, where applicable, too.
    • The picture needs to be a headshot with a neutral background, and you should be smiling.
    • Have the image saved in a variety of sizes. Each website may have slightly different regulations on the size and format of photos you can upload, such as a 125-pixel by 125-pixel square .jpg for a headshot in one place and or something laxer such as “up to four inches wide by six inches high, under 1 megabyte, in either a .jpg or .png format.”
    • If you’re having a professional headshot taken, the photographer can usually give you a couple of sizes from the same image.

    You are purposely branding yourself here, so every single thing you post online is going to be part of that package. Once it goes online, it’s part of your brand. There’s no picking and choosing.

    Branded Daters May Get More Dates

    Think the online dating world is an exception to the world of branding?

    Think again!

    Having a brand on a dating site could even be more important than the one you present to the professional/working world.

    In our swipe-happy culture, you get maybe a tenth of a second before someone goes left. What can do you do in a tenth of a second?

    Not much, but if you’ve branded your online dating profile, you’re in control.

    It’s similar to the suggestions we encourage our clients to do with their work images (clear photos, smiling photos, well-groomed photos), but with some twists:

    • Show that personality! We’re not saying to put an image of you standing at a Caligula-style bacchanal with your friends passed out as your first profile picture. But anything that shows who you are and what you love is game. Hint: Now’s the time for those cats and waterfalls!
    • We do encourage people to include full-body shots. Yes, prospective daters want to see what you look like from head to toe. How you look may not be necessarily part of your brand or what you care most about, but guess what? Other people care.
    • Photoshop and 20-year old pictures are so… 20 years ago! You cannot make this error anymore, it’s just unacceptable. Though we can bet your friends still to this day share stories of showing up to an online date with someone 15 years older, 40 pounds heavier, or with 80% less hair than the photos in the profile.

    It’s Not Bragging, It’s Branding!

    Our culture has been taught to avoid being accused of bragging, but branding yourself has nothing to do with having a big head. In fact, you’re towards a goal – a new job, an active dating life, more friends.

    One of the first steps people take after they’ve decided to build their brand is to get those photos, but it can be a daunting task. You could ask your friend’s kid’s uncle’s best friend from high school who “likes to click around with his cell phone camera.”

    Or you could go pro.

    In one professional session, you may be able to get different branded looks, including professional work-related headshots as well as dating profile pictures. You bring the accessories and outfits and the photographer will have the equipment to do the rest.

    The photographer can also help you get the output types and file sizes you need (like those size and graphic requirements to post your photos online).

    Start here to find a photographer to help you in your quest to be the best you can be.

  • internet profile

    How Your Internet Profile Can Hurt Your Job Search

    The time has come for you to search for a new career.

    Hunting for a new job can be exciting. If you know the rules.

    And one of those rules is making sure your internet profile isn’t damaging your reputation.

    At least 37% of employers are now looking at internet profiles before they make a hiring decision.

    So let’s take a look at the basic rules on how to set up an internet profile that helps your online reputation.

    Check Your Internet Profiles for Accuracy

    This might be news to some but….not everything on the internet is true or accurate.

    Including information about you. Information that could be potentially harming your ability to get a job.

    • Google Yourself: Do a name search on yourself. Use various search engines and see what comes up. If you find false or negative information about yourself, take steps to remove or correct it as soon as possible.
    • Set Up a Google Alert: Setting up a Google alert will help you monitor yourself and see if any negative or false information has been put onto the internet. Doing this will enable you to know right away if anything has been posted.
    • Increase Your Online Security: It is possible to have your identity or computer hacked. It’s actually fairly easy and becoming more common. Protect yourself, your identity and your credit by placing password protection on all your devices.

    In today’s digital world, your online reputation is often one of the first things hiring managers, coworkers, and even dates will check when considering whether or not they want to associate with you. Your online presence can follow you everywhere you go, and monitoring the results for your own name allows you identify potential issues before they become crises. If a situation ever becomes too much to handle alone, don’t worry – there are crisis management services that are able to help!

    There are a few other things you can do to make your search even more effective, though, and ReputationManagement.com covers them in the following guide below.

    internet profile

    Your Internet Profiles Should Have You Looking Amazing

    And I’m not just talking about what photos you choose to share.

    However, if there were ever a place to be able to make yourself look like a star, the internet is it.

    However, if you don’t carefully manage your profiles, the internet can also quickly destroy you and your reputation.

    And it’s not easy to take down information once it’s been posted.

    Here’s how to avoid a messy cleanup when setting up an internet profile:

    • Keep Photos Clean: No drinking, drugs, overtly sexual or any other photos that might make you look like a bad choice to employers should ever be posted online anywhere. Also make sure your friends aren’t tagging you with inappropriate photos, either.
    • Stay Positive: Potential employers are looking for happy team players. They do not want to hire someone who is always complaining. Keep your posts happy and upbeat.
    • Avoid Politics: This can be incredibly difficult, especially now. However, potential employers will be looking to see if you fit into their corporate culture. If you complain about the wrong candidate, you may lose out.
    • Keep the Right Company: Be vigilant about how much access to your profile that you give friends or acquaintances. They might damage your reputation if you’re tagged in an unprofessional link.
    • Be Smart: Don’t post racist, homophobic, sexist or otherwise inappropriate content about others. Do NOT post these as “jokes” either. Not everyone has your sense of humor.
    • Set Yourself Apart from the Pack: If your name is John or Jane Smith, there’s going to be others who also share the exact same name as you. Avoid confusion by adding specific details about you (like your middle name) and your career so others can more easily find you. To truly set yourself apart from the others, you might consider creating a unique URL with your name that links you to all your social media accounts.
    • Tell the Truth: Make sure all your information is accurate and correct. Lying on purpose will only backfire and make you unhireable. It’s also really easy to find out the truth online these days.
    • Don’t Get Caught in a Lie: If you decide to take a mental health day and call in sick, don’t post it all over the internet if you’ve decided to spend that day drinking at the ballgame with your buddies.

    Create Internet Profiles on the Right Social Media Sites

    Not all social media sites are the same.

    You want to make sure that you know which one’s most employers are looking at.

    Then you want to make sure you’ve made those internet profiles looking as professional and clean as possible.

    1. LinkedIn

    This is the number 1 site that potential employers will search for you on.

    Potential employers are looking for well-rounded candidates. LinkedIn is the site where you can most easily share that with them.

    Here’s what you want to list on LinkedIn:

    • Accomplishments: Employers want to know what great things you’ve done in your career so far and this is the place to best share those experiences with everyone.
    • Charities & Donations: Employers are increasingly looking for candidates who give back. 65% of employers felt this information gave them a positive impression of the candidate.
    • Professional Experience: Employers want to know where you’ve been. This platform allows you to post all that experience.
    • Mutual Connections: It’s often said that the hiring process is more of who you know than what you know.
    • Cultural Fit: This works both ways- both you and your potential employer want to make sure it’s a good fit.
    • Examples of Work: You can share your work in video, in links and other methods. It’s a great way to showcase your talents.

    2. Facebook

    While Facebook only receives about 26% of hires versus 74% on LinkedIn, it’s still important to have a presence on Facebook.

    There are also things you can do on Facebook to help you search more actively.

    • Brand Yourself: Facebook is considered the best place to brand yourself. Do this by being consistent and remembering this is your career you’re building, not a clubhouse for your friends.
    • Join Groups: A great way to network. You can also establish yourself as an expert, setting yourself apart from the competition.
    • Post an Ad: An easy and inexpensive way to get great attention from the right potential employers. You can easily target specific demographics and spend as little as $1 a day.

    3. Twitter

    While it’s the least used platform for potential employers, it’s still important to maintain this profile as well.

    • Hashtags: Great for finding a job like #JobOpening but you can also use it to find a job #MBA. Find the right hashtags to use and search for and you could find yourself employed in no time.
    • Share Tips: Set yourself apart by sharing tips and other useful bits of information. It’ll help set you apart from others and establish your credibility as an expert in your field.

    For every internet profile, you have online, it’s important to be consistent.

    Whether it’s the photos you’re posting or the content, remember, this is the world’s first impression of you.

    Make it a great impression with our help.
    The basic idea of staying on top of your Google results is simple: just plug your name or your brand’s name into Google and browse the first few pages to see what you find. Since that’s what most people will do when they search for you, this will give you a good idea of what they’ll see. There are a few other things you can do to make your search even more effective, though, and ReputationManagement.com covers them in the following guide.

  • profile picture

    Why Your Profile Picture Is So Important

    You won’t make it far in today’s online world without a good profile picture.

    Sure, simply having a profile picture is better than not having one at all. For example, LinkedIn users get 11 times as many views if they have a picture in their profile.

    However, having a high-quality photo takes your profile to the next level.

    Everyone knows that first impressions have a significant impact on how people perceive you. Yet so many people ignore the quality of their profile pic— they get ignored as a result.

    But what is a high-quality profile picture? How exactly does it benefit you to have one?

    There are many questions that need answers.

    Read on if you want to find out why you profile picture is so important in 2017.

    A Good Profile Picture Lets Your Personality Shine Through

    That grainy, low-resolution selfie is not a very accurate representation of your personality, wouldn’t you say? You’re capable of so much more than that.

    Maybe you just never put too much thought into it. However, the fact is that your profile photo is actually indicative of your personality.

    A high-quality profile pic goes way beyond the resolution of a photograph. You have to consider all of the small details as well.

    A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that people can learn a lot about your personality from your profile pic.

    So, if you want to let your personality shine, here are a few tips:

    Smile hard. Smiling indicates that not only are you approachable, but you are socially aware as well.

    Go bright. Profile photos that are bright indicate that you are agreeable. Plus, dark photos cause people to perceive you as neurotic and anxiety-ridden.

    Don’t be ashamed of your glasses. Wearing glasses actually makes people perceive you as more intellectual.

    It’s true that a profile photo will never capture your entire personality. There’s too much to capture in one photo. You’re a complex human with many likes, dislikes, hobbies, and goals.

    That said, it’s important to use it to your advantage. You really have nothing to lose, as it can help you connect with people who share your life goals and outlook.

    It Is a Representation of Your Personal Brand

    Whether you realize it or not, you’re constantly selling yourself online.

    However, it’s  not always for money or job opportunities. Rather, sometimes it’s for social perception, dates, and networking opportunities.

    What do you need to maximize your success? You need a top-notch personal brand.

    Your profile photo is the first thing people will see.

    The profile photos you use on all of your social media platforms are a representation of your personal brand. It conveys your values and character.

    If you’re a lawyer, for example, you do not want to come off as a goof due to some silly picture. You want to showcase your serious side, because that’s part of your personal brand.

    You have to remember that most people do not know anything about you. When it comes to first impressions, all they can do is assume who you are and what you represent.

    Sure, they will look at your written content as well, but the main focus is going to be your picture. And if that’s the case, you need to ensure that it looks as good as possible.

    It Show Others That You Care

    When people see a low-quality profile picture, one of the first thing they think is, “Does this person even care about their page?”

    It can be intriguing in rare cases. In most cases, however, it simply evokes pity.

    The truth is that you probably care a lot. You just never thought that people would judge you so harshly for your profile picture.

    But whether you like it or not, a poor profile photo makes you seem uninterested.

    When a person looks to network with other people, they want a driven person who pays attention to the details. The same thing applies for people looking for a significant other or a friend.

    Update your profile picture when you can. It shows that you are proud of who you are.

    The bottom line is that if your photos look like you don’t take pride in yourself, then that’s exactly how people will perceive you. It doesn’t matter what the reality is.

    It Helps You Stand Out From the Crowd

    The vast majority of people have low-quality profile pictures. You can notice this when you scroll through any social media platform.

    Sure, they attempt to put their best foot forward. But what they don’t realize is that those fancy filters just make them blend in with the crowd even more.

    Some social media platforms prioritize photographs much more than others.

    On dating websites such Tinder or OkCupid, it’s crucial to stand out from the crowd. You have to remember that you’re competing with hundreds to thousands of people in your area.

    Which option do you think is going to attract more interest? Is it a dark, gloomy low-resolution selfie taken with a smartphone, or is it a bright, lively professional photograph in a natural setting?

    The answer is pretty clear.

    When people visit dating sites, or even networking sites, the picture is the first aspect of the profile that snags their attention.

    A grainy selfie with a colorful filter screams that you are nothing special. But the truth is that you are.

    If you present a high-quality profile pic, you will stick out like a sore thumb among the hordes of people with average profile pics.

    This will help you get off to a great start, but all of those other online dating mistakes are on you.

    Conclusion

    The fact is this: A high-quality profile picture leaves a great first impression. If you are trying to build your personal brand online, you cannot do without one.

    A good photo helps you stick out from the crowd. It puts your sparkling personality out there for the world to see and shows people that you take pride in yourself.

    Don’t let a low-quality picture limit your online success.

    Smile! Present the best and brightest version of yourself.

    If you’re interested in getting some elegant photos for your profile, feel free to check out our packages.

  • Online dating conversation starters

    Online Dating Conversation Starters That Will Get You A Reply

    We all know that dating can be tricky, particularly if you’re recently out of a relationship and are now back in the dating pool.

    If you’ve matched online or on an app with someone you quite like the look of, congratulations. But as you know, matching is just the first step. Then comes the awkward stage where you both wait for the other person to start a conversation.

    In a world obsessed with looks, having a few great online dating conversation starters up your sleeve will help you stand out from the competition.

    It can be difficult to know how to start a conversation with a match, but hesitating is not the answer. Waiting longer than 6 hours to message a man means he’s 25% less likely to respond, while for women it drops 5% (dropping sharply as time goes on).

    You Know What Really Gets the Conversation Started? A Great Photo. Find Your Photographer Now!

    We’ve got the best conversation starters to improve your response rate. Read on to upgrade your love life.

    Online Dating Conversation Starters That Work

    If you tend to start a conversation with “Hey”, or “What’s up”, you’re not doing yourself any favors. According to a study by Hinge, these openers only have an average response rate, and they don’t show much imagination.

    Instead, use these types of online dating conversation starters:

    Consider Their Age

    If you know the age of the person you’re messaging, that information can be helpful when you’re planning your first message. Matches respond differently to openers depending on their age.

    People between the ages of 18-23 like questions that are unique or surprising, such as: “Pain reliever personality: Tylenol, Advil, or complaining?”

    People between the ages of 24 and 28 like lifestyle-related questions. Ask whether they enjoy sleep, exercise or mimosas on a Sunday. Another good option is to ask them to choose between an adventure like scuba diving or rock climbing.

    Those between the ages of 29 and 35 like to get a little personal. Ask to play a game like two truths and a lie, or “Have you ever?”

    If you’re talking to someone who is 35+, pop culture is a good choice. Ask them to choose between two movies or pop stars and see what happens.

    Be Funny

    Funny online dating conversation starters get lots of responses since most people enjoy having a laugh. Women are more likely to respond to a humorous message, and science has proven that women value humor when looking for a man.

    Of course, guys are also more likely to respond if a woman makes them laugh. Send a GIF that will attract their attention and a humorous message to follow up. Start with a knock-knock joke, or tell them a funny story.

    For women, it can be a good idea to find some common ground based on their profile. Pick something from one of his photos and lightly make fun of him for it. Is that really his dog, or is he borrowing it in an attempt to attract women? Was it necessary for him to have his shirt off at that party?

    This creates intimacy and also allows you to see if he can actually take a joke.

    Get to the Point

    This works especially well for guys. We all know that men are usually the more straightforward sex, which is why they’re 98% more likely to respond to an invitation.

    Consider “Drinks soon?” or “Free this week?” If you’re using an app like Tinder, you already know the other person finds you attractive since they had to match with you.

    Talk About the Future

    This can be a way to involve some humor as well. A simple question like “So, two kids, or three?” can get a laugh and show you’re serious about meeting someone.

    Many people use dating apps and websites only for hookups. For people who are serious about finding a partner, it can be annoying to only get messages from people looking for a fling.

    Demonstrating that you’re looking for something a little more serious (even as part of a joke) can help you stand out from all the other people sending messages like “You’re hot,” and “Hey sexy.”

    Give a Compliment

    Everyone likes a nice compliment, but it’s important to be careful here. Avoid mentioning the other person’s appearance as it can come off as creepy. You should only tell someone they’re beautiful/hot/gorgeous should after you’ve actually met them in person and got the “ok” signals.

    Instead, focus on complimenting aspects of their personality. If you notice in their photos that they’re doing something cool like bungy jumping, running a marathon, or skydiving, this can be used as one of your online dating conversation starters:

    “Wow, I’ve never been bungee jumping before, how was it?”

    “You’re so brave, good on you for skydiving!”

    “Running a marathon is impressive, I’d love to train for one one day.”

    You may read in their profile that they have a particular interest or achievement. Maybe they work in an interesting field or have a unique dream. Mentioning this in the form of a (playful) compliment can break the ice and show you pay attention.

    Bad Photos = No Dates.
    Find Your Photographer Now!

    Don’t Overthink it

    It can be tempting to mentally type out five different messages and then list the pros and cons of each one. But these days, online dating is a numbers game.

    Keep it simple, be interesting, and if you don’t get a reply, move onto the next person.

    And One More Tip…

    Check your message before you send it. Make sure you’ve spelled the person’s name correctly if you’ve used it. Look for grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. You don’t need to be Shakespeare, but you also need to make a good first impression.

    Conclusion

    These days, we’re all constantly glued to our smartphones and meeting people through technology has become the norm. But it can be hard to stand out to the opposite (or same) sex if you don’t have any good online dating conversation starters.

    Now that you have some great ideas to get the conversation started, give them a try and see how you do. You may even want to keep track of which conversation starters perform the best in different situations. Good luck!

  • written profile

    How to Create Your Written Profile on LinkedIn

    LinkedIn is your professional face. Outside of Facebook, it’s where employers look the most for information on your career.

    But, unlike your Facebook page, it’s a lot of information about you in particular. Where you worked. What certifications you have. And more. It’s essentially your digital resume and C.V. all in one place.

    And, even though employers still require a cover letter, resume, and C.V. most of the time, you need to keep your LinkedIn written profile up to date.

    If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile, we recommend join the more than 2 billion people on LinkedIn straight away. And that’s what we’re here to help you do. Actually, create a LinkedIn profile you can be proud of.

    1. Treat Your Written Profile Like Web Content Creation

    You need context. You need to set the scene. The first thing you need to do is ask yourself, “who is my audience?” How do you want them to feel after reading your profile? What is the takeaway?

    You’re trying to sell yourself. If you’re a writer, you want clear, concise copy that reflects your ability to write. You also want to include jargon and terminology that writers will relate to.

    Also, ask yourself what you want your readers to do once they read your profile. This really depends on your field. Are you an independent contractor looking for small jobs? Are you wanting to be hired full time and have the reader offer a major position?

    Are you a freelance writer looking for gigs? You will gear your written profile to this goal.

    2. Organize Your Content By Category

    Your LinkedIn profile is divided up into several sections. These are categories of information LinkedIn thinks is vital to your resume.

    What are the different categories you need to fill? Let’s take a look.

    Strengths

    “Anything you can do, I can do better! I can do anything better than you!” The classic song from Annie Get Your Gun is almost what you should convey in your strengths section.

    You really do need to be a little bit humble. But this category should be about what you can do better than most people.

    Where have you excelled? What are you good at? It’s all about you.

    Values And Passions

    What things will you never give an inch on? What is your work ethic? What really gets your mental juices flowing?

    These are the kinds of questions you need to ask when writing down your values and passions. You’ve got a moral and ethical code at work. You may not think about it on a daily basis, but it’s there. It’s how you operate.

    What is your professionality? What kind of work environment are you looking for? These things tie into who you are in relation to your work and your passions.

    Differentiation

    This might seem the same as strengths, but it’s quite different. This defines more your individual interests that set you apart from other people. Boil your interests down to a list. Then pair them down into as small categories as you can manage.

    This will show the unique aspects of what you’re passionate about. And then this is what will show those looking at your profile that you’re unique from the crowd.

    Also, look at how you interact with other people. Are you a high-class managerial person?

    Did you know that you will get 13 times more profile views if you list your skills? That’s something that could differentiate you from the rest.

    Accomplishments

    What value have you created? You will write a sentence on each thing you’ve accomplished in your career so far.

    Make each thing sound amazing. You really have accomplished those things. Perhaps you built a new product. Or maybe you streamlined a system in your workplace. Did you write a whole novel? Publish it? Those are accomplishments you can add.

    Quantifiable Facts

    These are the numbers accomplishments. These are the data that back up what you’ve done. You speak five languages and visited twenty countries in your last job. Information like this could be invaluable to an employee.

    You could get even more detailed with your accomplishments if you know the numbers. How much you personally added to the revenue at a company for example. Or how many clients you served last year. If you can collect numbers add numbers.

    Validation

    Here’s where your certifications come in. You’ve gotten awards. People have quoted you. You’ve received accolades. This is the time to write down every outside recognition you’ve received from someone. Don’t be shy. Include everything relevant to your goals.

    You Should Write Your Profile In The First Person

    How do you introduce yourself to people you meet? Do you say, “Hi! George is pleased to meet you. George does wonder, though, what do you do for a living?”

    People would cut that conversation as short as possible, smile awkwardly, and walk away. Why then do we feel like it’s a good thing to speak this way about ourselves in a resume or cover letter?

    Your written profile should be personable while remaining professional. Write the profile as if you are addressing an audience and giving a presentation on yourself and your experiences.

    The only time to avoid any particular perspective is when you are writing a list of experiences. In these instances, the “I” is understood. For example, if you wrote copy for a local paper every week say, “Wrote newspaper copy for the Alliance Times once a week.”

    Now Just Combine Everything And Write

    Start off with a provocative statement. This is called the hook. Like we said before, treat this like any other piece of online content. Give a strong opening, a solid middle, plenty of facts, a few outbound links and you’ll have an amazing profile.

    Conclusion

    Creating a written profile on LinkedIn is pretty easy. Their interface is pretty simple. If you follow our advice on creating a LinkedIn profile, you should have should have no problems.

    If you’re looking for a great way to boost your profile with awesome professional personal photos, book a session with us today.

  • personal branding tips

    9 Ways to Use Social Media to Up Your Personal Brand

    Hey, you!

    Yeah, you!  The Social Media Extraordinaire who can navigate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the blink of an eye!

    Those cat pictures are really cute, aren’t they?

    And oh man, those pictures from Mindy Pickens’s 21st birthday party back in college!  Good times, good times!

    Hey, another Bad Luck Brian meme just popped up on your feed!  Time to like and repost!

    Yeah, it definitely seems like you’ve got this social media thing down pat.

    Except you don’t.

    What you need are some personal branding tips. Why do you need them?

    Because while you know how to work the tools, you aren’t making the most of them.

    And in a digitally-driven world, how effectively you market your personal brand can make or break you.

    Why is personal branding so important?

    Consider this:

    Your social media features your full name, pictures of you, your place of work, and where you went to school.

    Anyone who wants to find out more about you could very easily Google you and find all of this information.

    Anyone, from that cute guy/girl you met at your pal Ben’s Valentine’s Day thing last night to, oh say, a potential employer.

    That changes the game a little, eh?  Especially considering how competitive the job market is now.

    You want that job.  You crave that job.  You need that job.

    So you’ll want your social media to reflect that need, to show that you were conceived and tailored for that job.

    And hey, you probably don’t want your future boss seeing those photos from Mindy’s birthday bash (especially given 92% of employers search social media prior to hiring a candidate).

    He or she might not want to be your future boss if he or she sees them.

    Plus, remember that cute guy/girl from Ben’s V-Day thing?  if you’ve got anything too questionable or silly on your social media, he or she might not think you’re so adorable after friending or following you.

    But the thing is: you don’t know where to start.  You need some personal branding tips.

    Not to worry, sir or ma’am: that’s why you’re here!

    And boy, have we got a selection of personal branding tips that are sure to help you out!

    Check ’em out below.

    Personal Branding Tips 101

    1) Clean up your profiles

    Delete anything that employers might find questionable, negative, unprofessional, or downright silly.

    Those old pics from Mindy’s party?  They need to go.

    That dumb Bad Luck Brian meme?  Give it the boot, too.

    And those comments that you left on Ben’s profile pic?  Where you guys were just horsing around and dropping the F-bomb?  Yeah, delete those suckers right away.

    2) If you don’t have any profiles, get some

    Back in the day, social media was an optional form of self-expression complete with fake photos and clever usernames.

    Not anymore.

    Nowadays, employers get tons of resumes, so it’s hard to stand out with just a list of accomplishments and skills.

    They want to see those skills in actions.  They want to see how you earned those accomplishments.

    And the best way to do that is with thoughtful, knowledgeable, easily accessible posts on social media.

    3) Keep a list of your profiles

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, LinkedIn–there are so many different social media platforms out there.

    It’s really hard to keep track of them all. Think about the bank transactions you make, the groceries you need to pick up, and the errands you have to run.

    What do you do to keep track of everything? You make a list.

    Make a list of which social media accounts you have.  That way, you can keep track of your accounts more easily.

    4) Use the same name across all of your profiles

    Most people use more than one social media platform.

    As an up-and-coming professional, you’ll want to make sure you can be found easily on every platform.

    Why? So people who follow you on one social media platform can easily find and follow you on others.

    Plus, it’ll help you increase your outreach.

    5) Use the same format across all of your profiles as well

    Remember: you’re not just advertising your name; you’re advertising your brand as well.

    So something else you’ll need to do is use the same look across all platforms.

    For example, let’s say your buddy Ben has done what you’re doing.

    Let’s say he started his personal brand on Twitter.  His profile has his logo in his header accompanied by a sea green color scheme.

    When he expanded his personal brand to Facebook, he used the same logo in his header with the same color scheme somewhere on his profile.

    The same goes for when he expanded to Instagram, and when he updated LinkedIn to include his brand.

    Like with your name, your brand makes you easier to identify among the millions of profiles out there.

    6) Decide what your brand (that is, you) specialize in

    That beautifully wrapped box of chocolates isn’t worth much unless there are actually chocolates inside.

    Likewise, your accounts need to offer something–a specialty of some kind.

    Maybe you write.  Maybe you bake.  Maybe you’re an amazing trapeze artist.

    Regardless, part of your personal brand is what you do, which in turn defines what you know.

    It also helps you set you apart from others in your field.

    7) Post relevant content, and often

    All of the knowledge in the world won’t help you if you’re not interested in your area of expertise.

    And if you don’t post relevant content to your social media, and often, you look like you’re not as interested in it as your resume professed.

    The rule of thumb?

    Post something relevant every day, and cross-post it across your various accounts.

    8) Use a clear photo of yourself

    This one can help you professionally as well as romantically.

    Whether it’s an employer or a date, whoever’s contacting you’ll want to know what you look like.

    So you should avoid photos that:

    • are blurry;
    • show you in a group;
    • aren’t consistent with your other profiles; and/or
    • don’t look like you

    9) Interact!

    You might be a brand now, but you’re still a person!  And people are social by nature.

    Plus, your friends and followers will appreciate a little engagement from the name and face that they decided to friend and follow in the first place.

    Not to mention, talking on social media gives you a chance to show off your expertise.

    Follow these personal branding tips, and you’re sure to have a more fruitful experience with your social media accounts!

  • brand yourself

    How To Brand Yourself in 2017

    In 2017, everybody knows that branding is important.

    You know how a brand can resonate with a consumer and drive key purchasing decisions.  You also know that strong brands can endure harsh economic climates

    You know that businesses need brands, but do you know how to brand yourself?

    Why you need to brand yourself

    Right now your personal brand is almost as important as your businesses brand.

    Branding yourself can help you achieve clout in your chosen profession, and could mean the difference between getting your next job or landing a big contract.

    The truth is that branding yourself and branding a company or product doesn’t have to be that different.  If you follow these simple tips, you’ll have a strong brand for yourself in no time.

    Be an expert

    Do you want to be the best accountant in your town?  Then you need to be up to date on the latest accounting tools and practices.

    Are you striving to be the most desirable candidate for your next marketing job?  If so, recruiters and employers should be able to sense your deep industry knowledge as soon as they look at your portfolio.

    If you want to build your brand, you have to make yourself an authority in your business or industry.

    Remember, if you’re going to talk a big game you need to be able to back it up!

    If you don’t feel like you have that expert-level knowledge yet, there are simple ways to fix that.

    Attend a few industry related meetup groups in your area so you can learn about what other professionals in your field are talking about.  Or take a few online classes to brush up on your skills.

    Consider your persona

    Are you the industry expert that spent decades honing their craft?  Are you the brash newcomer that always seems to be able to predict the latest trends? Will you always be smiling in profile pictures surrounded with others, or will your pictures be serious selfies?

    Before you brand yourself, you need to decide who you are.  An easy way to do this is to take time to build your persona.

    Think about if you have a wry sense of humor or if you’re always going to be the straight shooter.  Take time to consider what your personal brand has to bring to the table and what sets you apart from the rest.

    Keep a big network

    If you’re going to brand yourself people need to know that your personal brand exists.  The easiest way to spread awareness of your personal brand is to have a large network of people.

    Networking is an essential part of professional development, and if you have the right contacts news of your personal brand will spread like wildfire!

    The easiest way to network is to go to professional conferences and events, but that isn’t the only way to do it.

    Look around Facebook and Twitter for mentions of industry related meetups and happy hours.   Also, make sure that your LinkedIn and other professional profiles are up to date.  And always be sure to have a business card and a story handy when you’re out.

    Give talks

    An easy way to brand yourself is to ensure that you’re always in front of your audience.

    If you want to be visible, try to give more talks.  This can be as big as being a keynote speaker at a conference or casually doing a Q&A session for a professional group.

    Don’t feel like you’re ready to do public speaking? You don’t need to physically be in front of an audience to talk.

    Livestream a quick five-minute video about a hot topic people are talking about on Facebook.  Participate in a Twitter chat or even host one of your own.

    It all ties into making yourself an expert in your field.  When more people hear and see you out in the world, your personal brand will start to grow.

    Don’t go for shock and awe

    There’s an old saying that some people swear by: “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

    That may be a popular phrase, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when you’re branding yourself.

    Some people pay attention to others that do and say outrageous and attention-grabbing things.  But people who do that are a dime a dozen, especially in the internet age.

    Don’t try to get people’s attention by being the wildest or most entertaining person in the room.  Build your brand with mutual respect and knowledge.

    Remember, having someone’s attention isn’t the same thing as having their respect.

    Be authentic

    If you’re going to be anybody in this world, you might as well be yourself.

    When you brand yourself, don’t try to copy someone (even if they’re your personal hero).  It’s okay to try to emulate traits in other successful people, but above all your brand needs to reflect the real you.

    Think about what makes you different and own it.

    Don’t be late

    When you brand yourself, timing is everything.  Whether that means always showing up on time to a meeting or staying on top of the latest trends, you need to be on time.

    Currency is everything when it comes to branding.  If you’re going to be an authority in your industry or business you need to know about what’s going on.

    Make yourself known as someone that always knows about the latest trends in your industry.  Start your day by looking at industry news and utilize social media to stay on top of things.

    Write your heart out

    Marketers that prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to see positive ROI.  If marketers can achieve that, imagine what personal branding could do for you.

    Just like public speaking, frequent publishing can help establish your personal brand.

    Start your own blog on your website, write a lot of Facebook notes, or start a Tumblr.  It doesn’t matter what platform you use, just make sure that you’re publishing.

    While you’re at it, don’t just stick to platforms that you own.  If you want to brand yourself you need to be published on other websites and publications.

    Questions?

    We just covered a lot of information on how to brand yourself.  Do you still have some questions? Contact us so we can talk more about how to build your brand!