Wednesday 21 December 2011

Improving your LinkedIn Profile - Photos

Looking at my connections recently I noticed that whilst over half of them do include photos on their profiles, 40% don't have a photo, and a small number, around 2% have photos but the photos aren't of the person - they are, for example, company logos.

This got me thinking what the "conventional wisdom" might be regarding this, and so as always I went off to Google to find some articles.

I read a blog post which stated that your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed if it has a photograph, however there was, unfortunately, no obvious reference to back this up.

In a recent blog post Does My LinkedIn Profile Really Need a Photo?, Meg Guiseppi reminds us that we are creating a brand with our LinkedIn profiles, and that "branding is also about creating emotional connections", and goes on to list some excellent reasons why you should have a photo on your profile.

As to what type of photo you should have, there are several approaches, the most obvious being the "professional" option, as outlined in these blog posts by Jean Cummings and Nick Gilham. However, I'm not sure it's so clear cut, here are my own thoughts:
  • Do have a photo. Remember why you're building up your profile on LinkedIn.
  • Do make sure you're in the photo, don't use a company logo or some other artwork, and make sure that it is obviously you.
  • Don't use your passport photograph. The only time you look like that is when you go through immigration checks at an airport.
  • Don't take the photograph yourself with your phone. It shows. Really.
  • Don't have other people in the photo. This really is all about you.
  • Don't appear unprofessional, for example, being drunk at a party or stuffing your face with food.
Consider using the photo to communicate something about yourself which is not covered by the main part of your profile. My profile photo tells you something about the sort of person I am, which isn't covered in the main part of the profile.

Use a professional photographer if you feel that will convey the message you are aiming for. However, I have two observations on this:
  • Jaunty angles are typically the preserve of celebrities, so avoid them. Unless you are of course a celebrity.
  • There is a chance of looking like everyone else in an environment where you are aiming to stand out from the rest.

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