LinkedIn Photo Fails

If you know me well enough, you may have heard me complain about this subject more than once.  The dreaded LinkedIn profile picture.  So simple in concept, yet SO MANY people fail at this in a big way.  And as much as I’d like to post specific examples, I’m pretty sure I’d get in trouble, so I’ll have to summarize.

Let’s keep in mind the point of LinkedIn.  It’s a way for professionals to network, keep in touch, find jobs, post jobs, etc.  Key word there though is “professional”.  People spend countless hours, and sometimes money, to have their profiles looking good, all the right keywords, great work history, awards, accomplishments, etc.  That’s all great.  But what many forget, in my opinion, it that the very FIRST thing that people look at is your profile picture.  I’m not saying that is right or wrong, it’s just how we are wired.  We’re more likely to “connect” with someone that looks professional.  I’m sure I could find studies on this, but you guys can use Google just as well as I can.  🙂

So here are some of my favorite examples of what NOT to do for your LinkedIn profile picture:

  • The dreaded “selfie” – nothing says “I am not professional” more that just reaching your smartphone out and snapping a picture.  Selfies are always poorly lit, bad backgrounds, shadows, etc.  Fun to do on vacation on the beach – not appropriate for LinkedIn.
  • Pets – We all love our pets, but I really don’t think that your future employer cares what your dog looks like or how much you love he/she.
  • Wrong Size – LinkedIn likes a specific size image and does a really nice job of showing you how it’s going to look.  If your image shows up as about half the size of the box – FIX IT.  Any professional photographer worth their price will give you a LinkedIn sized image if you tell them that’s what you are looking for.
  • No Picture – If you can’t take the time to present yourself professionally, that doesn’t speak so well for you overall.  Even if you are the best in the world at what you do, not having a picture is going to leave a negative impression.
  • The Crop Job – I don’t care how great your smile looks in the picture, if there is a random hand on your shoulder, it’s obvious that you just cropped your head from some party picture.  Take the time for a headshot – please.
  • Spouses/Family – This isn’t a holiday card – this is YOU and your professional image.  We all love our families – but this is LinkedIn and NOT Facebook.  Keep that stuff on Facebook.
  • Logos – This is not supposed to be an ad for your company or favorite sports team – this is about YOU and your image.  Skip the marketing please.
  • Vacations – I’m sure that you think that picture of you by the Disney Cruise Line ship is cool, but it just doesn’t work when presenting your professional image.

I could probably spend a LOT more time ranting about LinkedIn profile pictures, but I think you get the point.  This is your professional image folks – spend the time and money to make it right.  It’s not that hard to get done, and can really make a difference in how you are perceived.  As our friends at Nike say, Just Do It.  🙂

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