I’m going to make a big deal over something many of us don’t like to, or want to address.
So… Over the course of a coaching session with an executive out of Minneapolis, I found myself trying to convince him to use a different photo for his Linkedin profile.
Many people tend to dance around themselves. They might use a photo that is quite dated. Maybe it’s a picture of them skiing or with one of their kids, or a dog. Often, once professionals hit their third season of life (we’ll define that as forty seven years old), they worry a picture “ages” them or drops them into an undesirable category. This same group might not want to reveal the year they graduated from college either, for much of the same reasoning. There is a local CFO-type that has an image of himself apparently running in a 10k race with his arm in a sling. I’ve met with him a few times, always trying to convince him to change the picture. As far as I know (I’m not even going to check) he still has the picture and has not worked meaningfully for almost ten years (thankfully his wife has a big corporate job). To the right is an example. I like this training picture of me taken by Outside Magazine. But, it does not belong on Linkedin.
Others used heavily augmented photos like the one to the left (that’s me this past summer) for another interview.
There are always exceptions to any rule… However, most decision-makers – this includes, hiring executives, managers, recruiters, potential spouses, etc., really want the fair truth in terms of who you are at work. It helps everyone make informed decisions. And, God has a clear notion around relational “filters”. If someone objects to an untouched image, or feels age is an issue, then it’s better for everyone involved to know up-front so time-wastage is minimized. This goes for interviews, choosing a service provider, and all the options you can ponder as you read this post.
Here are some point-of-reference posts I’ve written around this topic in the past:
Since I often use myself as an example (past mistakes, discipline, parenting, nutrition, training, etc) all of this naturally took us to my own profile and my picture. With all the above serving as preamble, it’s my own professional opinion that the picture needs to tell the story. The real story. Just so we are clear, I don’t “see” myself as pictured above. On the other hand, I’ve never considered myself particularly handsome. However, it might be what greets people at the door, every day.
While I’ve always liked my “crouching tiger” photo created by John Campbell himself, and encouraged by the indefatigable BB Webb, herself, it’s going on four years now and I don’t feel it tells the best story. You may have no idea what I’m referring to, but that’s one thing Google is good for. In any event, and for the record, the above picture was taken for an interview about three months after “the accident”. It’s hard to believe that was less than three years ago. You can read a bit about that, here. …my wife will say the accident either gave me an excuse, an advantage, or improvement… I married well.
I need to be judged; and every day. I like it. I thrive on it. I feel challenged and invigorated by all of it.
True story: Roughly forty-five days after the accident I tried to do some interval gaining at North Park. I passed -out leaning up against the chain-link fence. It was messy. But, I do heal unusually fast. So, perhaps I’m related to Wolverine (Google that as well).
in any event, I don’t think I’ve improved much. … sigh… My life has been great. But, along the way I’ve realized hell. But, each crag in my countenance has been righteously earned. I don’t sleep much (although I fall asleep fast, and I can do so ANYWHERE). There are a lot of people counting on me. I’m starting to form an opinion that epic training for extreme sporting events might work against us in many respects. But, I feel damn good (although some mornings are rough). Vanity is such a two-edged sword. And, like everyone else, I have good days and bad days. I’ve never been as photogenic as my daughters. This picture is kind of corny. But, it’s the result of a request.
And, the more I look at it I think I need to use it.
Maybe I need to simply work harder, smarter, and more effectively relative to everything I do so I’m judged by my results and not my greatly evident good looks.
Let’s be part of the Solution.
brian patrick cork