by Debbie Ruston, Featured Contributor
WE LIVE IN a very connected world through the internet. First impressions used to come from face to face interaction with people we met. Today that is done very differently through platforms like social networking and websites.
How do you want to be known? Do you see yourself as a professional? Do you understand the importance of branding yourself properly to make the first impression strong enough that someone would want to know you and what you have to offer?
Profile pictures are one way to start. A good headshot is necessary and should be congruent among all your different social networking sites so that when people visit different platforms they know for sure they have the right person. A headshot should be a close up from the shoulders up, looking directly and confidently at the camera with a great smile. A quick scan of profile photos on any social network will give you an idea. Pay attention to YOUR first reaction when you see the back of someone’s head, a body shot so far back you can’t see their face, a cartoon, or worse yet, no photo. Would you be excited to meet or do business with any of these people? It would be a shame to shoot yourself in the foot by not taking the time to put up a great headshot. Note, this is not about being handsome or beautiful. It is about looking the part of someone you would want to do business with.
Words used are often underestimated, in website copy, descriptions in about me sections, email addresses, etc. For instance, I once met a psychologist that had a hobby of belly dancing. Can you imagine her being taken professionally if her email address to clients was [email protected]? Look at the difference here: [email protected]. Words can make a big difference.
In our technologically connected world, it’s important to give yourself the best chance for success. We all know that first impressions are the starting point. If the first impression is not good, you will be overlooked even if you are the most qualified. It’s really just about common sense. You have to sell yourself first before people will listen to the value you offer.