They say not to judge a book by its cover, but before hiring managers actually meet you, your picture is going to play a big role in how they view you. So, what’s a “good” photo and what’s deemed inappropriate?
We contacted Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director, who told us you should always post a picture — the site’s own research finds that profiles are “seven times more likely to be viewed” if a photo is included.
To help us get a better idea of what’s appropriate, Williams shares 11 of the worst photo blunders you can make on your professional profile:
1. A photo with a four-legged friend. Unless you’re a veterinarian, don’t post a photo with your pet – as cute as (s)he 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. 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 10 years ago. However, once they call you in for an interview, the jig is up. An interviewee might feel slighted due to your bait and switch campaign.
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 “Sunday’s best,” you do need to keep it professional. No bikinis, sports jerseys or cleavage.
6. A wedding photo. We all know you paid thousands of dollars 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. A pixelated one. Are you copy and pasting from a friend’s photo that comes out too pixelated or stretched out? You don’t want to resemble a fun house mirror. 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.
8. A “too serious” one. Photos should express vivaciousness and life. Not sad, angry or vacant stares. Also, stick to colour rather than black and white shots.
9. An avatars one. You’re not a superhero. Unless you’re a cartoonist, 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.
11. Not having a photo. The worst photo faux pas you could do is get stuck without a photo. People with a photo are seven times more likely to get viewed. Don’t lose out because you’re too shy to show your face. What if you were buying a home? Would you make a bid without seeing a photo? Same goes for choosing a new client or connection.
And to gear users toward a more appropriate picture, Williams shares 5 tips you can use for your own profiles:
1. Dress to reflect the atmosphere of the profession that 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 signifies confidence and competence.
4. Make sure your eyes are relaxed and 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 “Nicole Williams,” since there can be several people with the same name on the site.
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