How to choose your LinkedIn profile picture

The first thing to say about LinkedIn is that it’s a business network. Some people say the only point of LinkedIn is looking for jobs. I think they are wrong. But even they are right – if you DO want a job, you would think about how to present yourself at the interview.

LinkedIn’s own research on how to choose your LinkedIn profile picture finds that profiles are “seven times more likely to be viewed” if a photo is included. So the biggest mistake is not having a photo. You wouldn’t go to look at a house without looking at a photo first – so why will anyone buy YOU when they can’t see your face. The conclusions people jump to are that you are: timid and unconfident, disorganised, lazy, embarrassed or just plain ugly. Unfair, I know, but who said life was fair?

So get a photo – but let’s avoid the most common errors:

LinkedIn shares 10 of the worst photo blunders you can make on your professional profile:

  1. A photo with a four-legged friend.Unless you’re a vet, don’t post a photo with your pet – as cute as it might be.
  2. A group shot.You need to post a solo shot. Otherwise how will people know who you are? Also,are your sure your friends want to be represented on your professional profile?
  3. A photo of your baby/with your baby. You’re growing your family and we’re all thrilled, but that doesn’t belong on LinkedIn.
  4. An old photo. It’s easy to choose a photo of ourselves at our best so it makes sense that a person might use a photo of themselves from ten years ago (or maybe a lot more). However, once they call you in for an interview or meet with you it looks a little odd. Keep you photo looking plausibly like you – now!
  5. An unprofessional photo.Are you at the beach, a night club or running a marathon? While you don’t need to be in your best business suit you do need to keep it professional. Best to avoid bare chests, wet suits, bikinis, sports kit or cleavage – no matter how fit you think you look.
  6. A wedding photo.Yes, it was a lovely day wasn’t it. We all know you spent thousands of pounds on hair, makeup and photographers for your big day. We know you’d like to make these photos last. However, unless you’re a wedding dress designer, you need to keep it professional when it comes time for a professional picture. Save the wedding ones for your personal album.
  7. Pixelated.Are you copy and pasting from a friend’s photo that comes out too pixelated or stretched out? You don’t want to look like something from the Hall of Mirrors. The whole idea of posting a photo is to put your best face forward. Have a friend take a few snapshots of you as opposed to resorting to a distorted photo. There are size guidelines on the LinkedIn site.
  8. Too serious.Photos should express vivaciousness and life. Not sad, angry or vacant stares, not the police line-up and not the one from your passport. Stick to colour rather than black and white shots.
  9. An avatar/cartoon image.You’re not a superhero, really, you’re not, you’ve never appeared in The Simpsons and you’re not a cat. Unless you’re a cartoonist or maybe an illustrator, having a caricature version of yourself reads immature in the minds of potential clients and employees.
  10. A photo of your product or logo.People want to connect with you as an individual, not with your logo. Once they connect with you, they’ll be able to learn about your product and your company via your company page.

So that’s what not to do!

How SHOULD my profile picture look?

Get a standard picture that represents your personal brand – take a bit of trouble and then use it on everything. Us comms types call it a ‘PR shot’ – one use is for your LinkedIn profile.

To gear users toward a more appropriate picture, LinkedIn shares 5 tips you can use for your own profiles:

  1. Dress to reflect professionthat you’re in or hope to join.
  2. Choose a picture that conveys your energy and personality.
  3. Be aware of your posture.Sit up straight. Good posture signifiesconfidence and competence.
  4. Make sure youreyes are relaxedand you have a smile on your face.
  5. Posting a photo is a must, especially for women who have married and changed their names. Or if you have a common name such as “John Smith,” since there can be several people with the same name on the site. You want to be found.

It’s all good advice

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