It's a fact of life: people make judgments about you based upon appearance.
So presenting yourself online is vitally important for business.
Yet some executives LinkedIn and Social Media profiles leave a lot to be desired. We've collected our favourite howlers for your amusement and education.
We all know someone whose profile creates a wry smile in the office.
But what is it doing for your company - and more importantly, yourself?
Mr Incognito is perhaps the most prolific icon on business social media. Studies by LinkedIn suggest you are 7 times less likely to be noticed if you use the generic silhouette. But who is Mr/Ms or Miss Incognito? Are they just bad at Social Media - don't understand how to put their profile picture up? Are they computer illiterate? Not having a good headshot on your profile page could be doing more damage than not being noticed.
Of course there is always a need to entertain clients but do you really want to advertise when it goes too far? Is this really the image you want your boss to see? What does it say to prospective employers?
OK you may be in an industry that parties hard but an image of you actually accepting the award on behalf of your team might be better than the post-ceremony piss-up.
The mugshot is a LinkedIn favourite. A lack of content, emotion and personality is critical to this style of headshot. Add some bland, flat uninteresting lighting and you have a truly unremarkable image.
Technical failures feature in way too many LinkedIn portraits. My favourite is the colour cast. Digital cameras create weird effects when handled badly. From magenta casts to bright yellow, you'd think the working population suffered from a host of terminal illnesses.
So if you don't want to look like a Simpson's cast member, get a proper headshot done!
You and your mates might be rolling around the office at this one but it's just bewildering to the rest of the population. The LinkedIn format is really too small for dramatic scenes and the subject in this one is taking up less than 1/5th of the picture real estate.
It's not saying a lot about you. And it's not saying a lot about the company.
I've never really understood the psychology behind the cartoon icon. Is it a reflection of a shy and retiring character? Is it an idealised other self? Either way, masking your real identity in preference for a stylised drawing creates more questions than answers.
Unless you are a vintner images of wine or other drinks in your profile picture speak volumes. Do you really want your boss/clients/prospective employers to think you have a drink problem?
The odd glass of wine in your facebook feed is perfectly acceptable: it is social media after all. But it isn't OK in your professional profile.
Next to the 'Mugshot', 'Holiday Snaps' are the next most common LinkedIn portrait.
But what does it actually say about you? In business most clients are interested in what you can do, not where you have been. Unless you're looking for a job as a holiday rep, potential employers have a passing interest in your travel experiences.
They're more interested in what you can do.
So, you've got this great camera in your phone and you are really great at selfies.
The only problem is unless you have elastic super-powers your arms can only stretch so far.
Enter the way-too-close, close up, complete with wide-angle distorted facial features.
Alongside strange colour casts, the overexposed is one of the most common technical problems in LinkedIn Headshots.
Not only does it make you look washed out, it highlights large expanses of skin: not good if (like me) you're a little overweight.
What work-life balance? This individual is the company, the ultimate in worker loyalty, they've completely buried their identity underneath a pile of company brand guidelines.
But if people are the company's greatest asset, shouldn't they be showcasing their individual skills?
LinkedIn headshots are part of your personal marketing armoury. Of equal importance to your c.v. they support your career, help with networking, get you a new job, promotion or just win you more clients. So, if your profile picture isn't doing you justice, get a new one uploaded......PRONTO!