Are You Looking Good Enough (on paper)?

I am an addict.

Seriously, I have gotten so into Social Media. Since I invested in my iPad my world has changed. I do absolutely everything on it now. From watching shows, streaming Netflix, playing games and reading books on airplanes, running the controls for my free calls (hint, next on is on Tuesday TOMORROW), to reading news, updating Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – I LOVE MY IPAD. So much that when my creative daughter revealed over the weekend that she’s auditioning more and more we went to the Apple store and bought her the iPad. We installed the Flickr Portfolio App and 15 minutes later she had a great looking portfolio. Seriously, why even bother with a printed portfolio? That’s so 2009.





The LinkedIn group that I founded is called Photography Business. While I am having breakfast I manage the group. You are btw welcome to join the group as long as you are a  photography professional. Sorry it is not open to amateurs or hobby photographers. There are some serious heavy hitters in that group and we talk about the business side of things of course. The group is picking up steam, we are getting close to 600 members and I get lots of requests to join. But many times I look at the LinkedIn profile and instead of approving the request I hit decline. Here is why and what you can do be taken seriously in the most important professional New Media space there is.

Avoid making these mistakes:

- Have a terrible photo of yours or non at all. Hello, we are in the photography business there is a reasonable expectation of you having a professional PR photo. If you don’t hire a photographer or do a trade with a buddy.

- List everything you have ever done. I am not interested in you having been a banker, a doorman and an Avon sales rep. Make up your mind and post one profile that suggests that you are good at one thing, namely the one you are serious about. Give me a reason to take you seriously. In your case it should be a photography related profile. If you are not a fulltime photography professional or it looks like you are one now it will be very difficult for you to use LinkedIn to get jobs and clients. Seriously!

- When you are asking to join a group or connect with someone please DO NOT under any circumstances EVER use the generic format. Tell me why you want to connect and what your expectations are and what you are bringing to the table. Another bad mistake is to want to connect with me but because you don’t know me you say I am your friend or have worked with you at your company that I don’t even know! Why would I want to be connected to you if you have to lie from the get go? Worst scenario: Being from a foreign country (non-english speaking) and sending me for example a Portuguese invite that I can’t even read. You wanted what…?

- Have a profile that is not in the universal language of English. Sorry, but the language of Social Media is English and there is no way around it. Write it in English or you cannot utilize and maximize what LinkedIn and most social media networks can do. If I can’t read it, it’s useless to me.

- I do not need to know which high school you went to. Only real professional degrees like BA, BFA, Diploma’s etc should be on your profile. Failed attempts shalt thou not list.

- Either writing a novel or not telling me anything at all about what you did in which job. Your rule is: List the company, state your title, give me a few 3-5 bullet points of what your major responsibilities were, give me 3-5 bullet points of what your major accomplishments were at that job. If you are unsure what that looks like take a look at my profile for reference.

- Have unprofessional writing or worse typos. You have no idea how many times I come across this problem. Yes, I understand, you are a.) creative and b.) possibly an immigrant like me and you c.) don’t want to be known for perfect punctuation but your talents. But,  unless you sound like a professional your potential clients won’t get past the first few lines. If you do not know how to, hire someone to do it. I’ve trained my 18 year old daughter to proofread all my client and customer facing copy. If it’s advertising or marketing copy it goes to my professional copywriter Tom Tumbusch from Wordstreamcopy. My proofreader is cheap, she charges $25 an hour and she is taking on new clients. She’s done this for a couple of my coaching clients and they love her. Tom is obviously way more but his copy is meant to make money. If you can’t do it good enough, hire someone. Tip: You can also go on www.Elance.com and find your own professional writer.

- Having no objective. Probably one of the most overlooked things on your LinkedIn profile is the lack of an objective. What is it that you want me to do when I look at your profile? Hire you, if yes for what and why are you the right person to do this?

If you are still not sure what to do with maximizing your professional exposure, perhaps you should schedule a QuickFix session. In one session we can get through your  profile and figure out your objectives very quickly. But whatever you do, please make sure you are looking as good as you possibly can.

If I have missed anything in this blog post please let me know if you’ve come across other bad mistakes on LinkedIn or share suggestions of what you did that works for you.

Comments

  1. says

    Here’s a question: You say the group is not open to amateurs and hobbyists. I’m not an amateur. I’ve been shooting for over 15 years. However, I am not a “professional” in that my main source of income right now is not from photography. I’m in career transition moving into it full time, hopefully within the next 6 months. Where does that fit within your criteria?

    Thanks

  2. says

    Jay, thank you for your comment. Now that you demonstrated that you are serious about the photography business you will be accepted into the group. That’s exactly the response I look for. You do what it takes to get there.

  3. says

    Well, that’s nice. I guess it depends on what sort of photography business you’re in. If you’re hoping to land a major campaign, unless you want to mail your ipad to the agency, you’d better have a professional, printed portfolio.

  4. says

    Steve, that is an excellent comment. I would love to hear what the art buyers and CD’s say about it. The cost of an iPad may be in many cases much cheaper than a portfolio. Matthew Rolston invests thousands of dollars in his.