EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I assume that almost all of you have a LinkedIn account. I don’t know how each of you use it, but in addition to looking up your fellow members using our Member Directory Search feature, I strongly recommend that you check LinkedIn prior to connecting with just about everyone.

If nothing else, LinkedIn is the world’s largest annotated phone book. As Yogi Berra might have said, you can see a lot just by looking. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain checking out what people say about themselves.

I will leave it to others to lecture you on how to create a proper LinkedIn profile. We have several resident experts you can call on such as Matt Youngquist, a frequent contributor to our Op Ed section: http://careerhorizons.wordpress.com/category/linkedin-tips/

We have all heard the expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. I’m sure it’s only 999, but why quibble?

As an amateur photographer of sorts, I take a lot of pictures. Thank goodness today it doesn’t cost anything. (That’s my inner accountant speaking.) As much as I like to save money, there are times when you shouldn’t. And, the picture you have on LinkedIn is one of those times.

The thought “just plain ugly” has crossed my mind many times when looking people up. I am totally astounded that people would use such totally inappropriate pictures on a resource that they should KNOW is going to be referenced by anyone they are planning to meet.

Blurred pictures, pictures of you on vacation, pictures of you with someone else…(should I go on and on? I can.) None of these are going to position you as a senior financial professional in the eyes of the “outside” world.

As my good friend (and Co-Chair) Doug Fine has been heard to say: “Don’t make your first impression your last.”

I don’t know who said it, but another favorite of mine is: Everything about you communicates when I have no base of information about you. (I think I made this one up.)

For example, if 10 times I see you in a suit with polished shoes and a nice tie, and once I see you at a purely social event where everyone is dressed in barbeque attire, my mental picture of you remains a suit with polished shoes and a nice tie.

Instead of searching the family electronic album for a picture taken by one of your children (or in my case your grandchildren), you honestly need to open up that wallet and have your picture taken professionally.

Don’t go crazy and spend a lot of money, but for small change, you should be able to get an appropriate BUSINESS appearing picture created for less than $100. Even a passport picture would be better than most of the pictures I see on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is a BUSINESS social networking environment. Make sure your picture on LinkedIn reflects a proper business appearance.

It will pay off 1,000 fold. (Or, at least 999.)

Regards, Matt

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