Your choice of LinkedIn photo is more important than you may think - As someone who runs a mile when a camera lens is pointed in their direction, I do not have an abundance of pictures to choose from. In my current offering I was caught in the background at a wedding. Being oblivious to the photographer I did not offer my usual ‘thumbs up’.
5 key reasons you should have one!
1. People want to know with whom they are communicating. It builds an instant familiarity. There is something off-putting talking to someone who knows what you look like but they are hidden.
2. Often people are concerned that they may be discriminated against due to age however sadly this will happen regardless of whether you have a photo or not.
No, it’s not right however with age discrimination laws being too loose, open to interpretation and easy to sidestep then we are still at the mercy of peoples’ personal attitudes. If they are likely to discriminate at this stage they will be just as likely during your first meeting with them. You are now just weeding out the people that you do not wish to be in contact with.
3. Without a photo people are less likely to contact you. Fact. LinkedIn has said that entries in LinkedIn search results with photos beside them are seven times more likely to be clicked than entries without photos.
4. Sounds obvious, but should they have met you previously or you are planning to meet, they will also recognize you.
5. It builds your personal brand, ties in with your other online content and displays a confident social media user.
Now to your photo
LinkedIn is a business not social networking tool, therefore your photo should reflect this.
Whether we like it or not (should do or not), people do make a judgment based purely on your appearance and your expression.
They equally make this judgment on the quality and composition of your photo.
Be comfortable in the presence of the photographer. It may be better to use a friend or colleague with a bit of an eye rather than a professional in order to avoid the false smile or uncomfortable stare shot.
Look at the multiple pictures on your connections page and notice which ones draw your attention for both good and bad reasons - copy or avoid.
Avoid the pitfalls (we have all seen them…):
Starting with the obvious: Focus the camera, be well lit, unobstructed and in the foreground.
Selfie: They have a place in social media but not here. You must know at least one person who can operate a camera/phone.
Provocative: You may very well be available however there is not a ‘contact me for dates’ option within LinkedIn for a reason.
Background: Be conscious of what’s behind you, they may focus initially on your face but then will notice if you are on a beach, in the pub, have your cat/mates/kids with you….
Reflect your market: Whilst a suit and cityscape works for some, it can equally work against you in more dress down professions. Make sure you reflect your professions dress code.
Post a recent shot: You will be meeting at least one of your connections in the future, wouldn’t it be great if their first reaction was not shock and suspicion?
The cut out head: It is likely that one of your favourite shots of yourself happens to have someone else in the frame. You will after all be at your most natural with people you know. However seeing half their head or missing half yours doesn’t make for the most professional picture.
Over creative: Yes, you have Photoshop. Yes, you are creative. There are plenty of places to display your work on LinkedIn, your photo should be just that, your photo.
Smile: In short it makes your approachable. Not a happy smiler? Then in the words of Tyra Banks smile with your eyes/ ‘Smize’!
Good luck people! I shall be changing my photo over the coming week as I have broken too many rules!
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