LinkedIn Photo Tips, Secrets and Suggestions

Tips for the right LinkedIn photo for your LinkedIn profile.

What is the professional face that you are presenting in your LinkedIn photo?

LinkedIn isn’t just for corporate types, you know.

An online business networking presence in the form of a LinkedIn profile has become a necessity if you work in just about any kind of organization.

If you work in the corporate world, you definitely are expected to have an active profile, but anyone who works can make use of the networking power of this global business network. Service providers, medical professionals, car mechanics… being on LinkedIn shows that you are serious about what you do.

Done right, it’s a fantastic platform for building your personal brand (which simply means highlighting what makes you special).

It’s where companies, customers and business partners can find you, too, so they can learn more about you for job opportunities and business connections.

And the right photo is a crazy important piece of that personal branding.

Here are some things to know and a few tips and secrets about your LinkedIn photo.

  • You gotta have one. You may think it’s no one’s business what you look like but we people are visual and curious creatures. We want to know what you look like because it helps us feel like we know you.  That’s why authors put their photos on books, and corporate websites show pictures of the executive team. It’s why I have my photo on almost every page of my website. And why you need your picture on LinkedIn.
  • Choose a picture that shows off your personality. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Certainly, a gray-suit corporate shot radiates a whole different personality than an action shot taken on a ski slope. Happy, serious, formal, hipster, intellectual, outgoing, creative… these kinds of qualities can be subtly communicated through your profile photo, so choose one that fits your business personality.
  • Use a head shot only, and not a crappy one. LinkedIn photos are small, and anything more detailed than a head shot won’t translate well on a computer or smartphone screen. If you don’t have a head shot, you can crop a larger photo or take a self-shot with your phone or computer, but pay attention to lighting and composition. A crappy photo makes people think you’re crappy, too.
  • Look at the camera and smile, please. You’d smile when you were introducing yourself to someone in person, wouldn’t you? Looking at the camera and smiling in your profile pic is like smiling out at the person who is interested enough in you to read your profile. It makes them feel welcome (and they might be thinking of you for the offer of a lifetime). I’m also personally a fan of laughing photos, because when someone looks genuinely happy, they look like they’d be fun to work with.
  • A photo makes you SEVEN TIMES more likely to get noticed. LinkedIn says that people who upload a photo to their profiles get seven times the profile views versus profiles with no photo. And obviously, the more people who view your profile, the more likely you are to have career or business connections contacting you. Seven times the views means seven times the opportunities. Don’t miss out on that.
  • You’re not allowed to use a logo or graphic as your photo. I see a lot of profiles of people who use their company logo or the seal of a certification instead of a photo. Not only is this against terms of use, it backfires on you because networking is for real people. Hiding  behind a logo dehumanizes you when others have photos. You’re a person, not a logo.
  • Don’t waste your energy worrying about discrimination. I know people who think, “I don’t want to show my picture, because then they’ll see that I’m old/young/a minority/not a minority/ female, /male/ugly/beautiful/whatever… so I just won’t put up a photo.” Let go of that concern. You are who you are, so just find a photo that show off your best and most likeable self. For every person who thinks your age, race, gender or looks is a negative, there will be another who sees it as a positive. Besides, no photo makes you look old-fashioned and reluctant to participate fully, and that’s not good.
  • A photo is required for a 100% complete profile, which increases your visibility by 40 TIMES! A photo is one of seven criteria for your profile to be considered 100% complete, and LinkedIn says that makes you 40 TIMES MORE LIKELY to turn up in searches. Forty times more profile visits gives the kind of professional visibility is kind of a big deal, don’t you think? So put getting your profile to completion on your must-do list.

Now go check what your LinkedIn photo looks like, particularly if you’ve been using the same one for ages, and if you’ve been dragging your feet putting one up, get on it!

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