|Does your profile picture look like this?
Avoid appearing faceless and out of reach; add
a professional photo of yourself on LinkedIn.
So you joined LinkedIn and started a profile – perfect – but then you went ahead and left your profile picture blank. Was this strategic or did you just not want to share it? Some people fear that adding a photo will cause scrutiny or discrimination that detracts from their content – which could happen – but in all honesty, by not including a photo this same judgement is being cast.
LinkedIn profiles were designed to include a photo; not including one is going against the norm. Why risk seeming out of reach, ‘appearing’ inapproachable, or ‘looking’ incapable (because without a photo it may be assumed you don’t know how to load one)?!
Human nature is highly visual, which is why photographs regularly accompany printed materials. Pictures increase engagement; a missing profile photo can make it hard to look beyond the faceless image and create rapport. Really, who doesn’t like putting a face to a name? In fact, it is a known statistic that profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed (see related Forbes article here
). People like to see who they are reading about and a missing profile picture is not only a turn-off, but a flag that something isn’t quite right.
The key to a good LinkedIn profile picture is to keep it highly professional. A photo of your cat, your family, or you wearing your favourite Hawaiian shirt is not appropriate. If you don’t want people to judge you, certainly don’t give them a good reason to. Avoid being counted as invisible on LinkedIn by adding a current professional head shot of yourself – in appropriate business attire – looking relaxed and approachable.
Ultimately it is up to you to include a photo on LinkedIn or not, but if people assume you are out of reach opportunities could be lost.
Here are some tips for your LinkedIn photo:
- Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile on their LinkedIn profile is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
- Use a photo of you in your profile — don’t use a photo of an object.
- At a minimum, your photo should include your head and shoulders, not just a close-up of your face.
- Smile! Radiate warmth and approachability in your photo.
- Photos should be professionally done, if possible (but not glamour shots).
- Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid patterns.
- Don’t have other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your LinkedIn photo!).
- Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
- Relax. Look directly at the camera.
- Take multiple shots and ask people their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
- Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt or a suit jacket, collared shirt, and tie. No t-shirts or Hawaiian shirts. No busy or crazy patterns.
- Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts. No big or busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Black always works; avoid white. If possible, your hair and makeup should be professionally done.
Another excellent and informative article on the importance of a LinkedIn profile picture is by Bob McIntosh, titled: “10 Reasons Why Your Profile Photo is Important to Me“. Many thanks to Bob for including my own profile picture in this post as a top example!