Not everyone who is an aging in place professional has a Linked In account. That really needs to change. Linked In is a very powerful search engine and is very useful for connecting us with professionals that we can use and who need what we offer. Looking for an OT, PT, real estate agent, life insurance agent, insurance adjuster, trust or contracts attorney, drywall contractor, plumber, electrician, general contractor, DME specialist, or dozens of other specialties? Find them on Linked In - at least for the people who have profiles, and that is happening more and more. Find them by geographical area also. The reverse is true when someone needs to connect with us for a client they have in our area or for our expertise in a certain area.
Therefore, we need to have a photo of ourselves in our profile - one that is recognizable as us. It should not from a hundred yards away or in a crowd of people. It doesn't have to be a photo studio headshot, but that is the size we're looking for. It should be a photo of us and only us - no dogs, boy friends, girl friends, partners, spouses, children, motorcycles, golf clubs, or anything else. It can have our logo in it if we are standing or seated in our office, but keep it from becoming too busy.
The photo does a couple of things for us. It personalizes our profile and it helps people connect with us. No one likes to connect with a "witness protection photo" - that gray silhouette that is the default photo placeholder. People like to see what we look like when they connect with us. They are making any type of judgment about our appearance; they just want to see who they are connecting with. Also, if someone were ever to meet us in person, they should immediately recognize us because of our published photo. If our hair is longer, shorter, a different style or color, or we have glasses when we didn't or we don't when we did - or anything else that modifies our appearance - we should use a newer, updated photo.
Photos are so easy and quick to take today. Again, it doesn't need to be done in a studio. Get a friend, family member, or colleague to take it. Take a selfie. The important thing is that it be relatively current and just us with no one else in the photo.
Linked In is a personal connection platform. Other social media sites are as well, but here we are looking to find business professionals that we can work with, refer clients to, or involve in some aspect of our business. If we have employees, it's a great recruiting tool as well.
No matter how we use Linked In, including just being on it so others can find us, the photo is the place to begin. Choosing a good story, headline, keywords. and other aspects of building a professional resume are important also, but the photo comes first.
If we already have a photo included in our profile, is it current enough and clear enough for someone to recognize us immediately when they see us? If not, that is easy enough to fix. Take the new photo and upload it - very quick process.
By the way, search Linked In for other aging in place professionals to connect with and grow your network, and don't forget to join the Linked In group "Aging & Accessibility"
Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.