Life’s a beach? Great! But please, not on LinkedIn…

Cartoon image of lady on the beachOne of social media’s great mysteries is why people think it’s appropriate to use holiday snaps showing them in their swimsuits for their LinkedIn profile pics. Complete with fruity cocktails and palm trees.

LinkedIn is a business and professional platform. Users’ photos should reflect that. You can portray your personality and look warm and friendly and approachable (if that’s the image you’re after) while still looking professional and businesslike. But not in your bikini (or Speedos!). Facebook or Instagram are the places for that.

Then there are the profiles with no picture at all. No photo, no logo, nothing. Why? Are people really that camera-shy? Maybe they don’t know how to upload images? Marketing professionals say that “people buy people”. But it’s difficult to engage with a head-and-shoulders icon and think “Yes, that’s somebody I could do business with”.

With everyone on LinkedIn telling visitors to their page how professional and expert and passionate (!) about quality they are, your photo is one sure way to differentiate your profile from all the others.

Translator invisibility

LinkedIn isn’t the only place with  image-free profiles. A quick look at the Institute of Translation and Interpreting directory shows (hides?) way too many translators without photos. That raises questions of marketing and branding, not to mention our reputation for introversion and anonymity… and frugality, to cite Chris Durban. As a self-employed professional, you are your brand. A decent set of professional photos needn’t cost much, and is surely a good investment in your business.

Confession: my own profile pics were taken 4 years ago… Time for an up-date!

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By Marian Dougan

Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

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