By now it’s a given that you have a photo on your LinkedIn profile. Without one, you’re as good as an outcast. However, the photos I’ve been seeing lately raise the question, “What are people trying to convey with their photof?” Are they hitting the mark?
What do I mean by this? Take the photo of the woman above. This is not hitting the mark unless she’s trying to appear otherworldly. Her photo does nothing but make me wish I never come in contact with her.
On the other hand, there are photos that are well done and prompt me to click “Like” or, in a few cases, write a comment complimenting the person’s photo for its quality. For example, a photo I show in my LinkedIn workshop prortays professionalism because it is a quality photo and the subject appears friendly, welcoming, and intelligent.
Now before you call me a photo snob, consider how important your photo is and why you shouldn’t slap just any one on your profile.
Photos are important. Our photo makes us memorable and trustworthy. Some, including me, won’t open a profile unless the person is known. According to some, profiles that have a photo are 14 times more likely to be opened than those that don’t.
Photos are part of your branding. The first thing people see on your profile is your photo, so make it count. They can say something positive about your personality; for example, you are caring, serious, creative, authoritative, outgoing and friendly, and so on. I demonstrate photos in my Advanced LinkedIn workshop. One of them is of a New York City photograper. Click here to see how he effective brands himself.
Quality is also important. My close connection, and published photographer, David Machowski says this about a quality photo: “A good headshot is a photograph of one’s face that is first and foremost flattering. That fact is open to interpretation; but here is where many make the mistake of having their shot with too much detail, too far away, too close, out of focus, eyes not sharp and in focus, too much depth of field (ideally the eyes should be the sharpest point of the photograph).” He could go on forever.
The type of photo you choose is your choice. No one insists that you dress in your best suit and tie, or for you women a suit with a brilliant blouse and conservative jewelry; although that would be nice. You may want to go the route of business casual. A black and white photo can look very creative or…hide pink hair.
Photos that are inappropriate? This is really the gist of the issue I have with the onslaught of photos appearing on my LinkedIn homepage. Many of the photos are taken in haste, without forethought and planning, and negatively impact the subject. Some are just plain inappropriate, such as:
- The plain ole poor quality, like a blurry photo that appears to be taken with a Polaroid.
- The under water effect–this person looks like she’s literally under water.
- The selfie taken with a cell phone gives the amusement park mirror effect.
- The action shot of someone in his office, playing touch football, or climbing rocks, etc.
- The false representation photo of a person 10 years earlier should be a crime.
- The half smile or downright frown photo. Hey, people are drawn to happy people.
- The purple face or red-eye photo. I’ve seen this and thought there’s no way a person’s face can be purple like this.
- The “I’m taken off guard” photo with cinder block background. This does wonders…for a prison shot.
- The dating scene photo is one of my favorites. Not. Beautiful women and handsome men are great for dating sites, not LinkedIn.
- The “Look, I’m working” photo with the office wall in the background looks like the person is trying too hard.
- The bad-ass look, shades and all. This I’ve seen and wondered if the guy was in a gang.
- The family portrait. Whose profile is it anyways, yours or your wife and children?
- The photo with the person riding his Harley.
- The photo of an orangutan. Let’s be serious.
- The company logo. There’s a LinkedIn company page for that.
Additional photos suggested by LinkedIn members.
- From Rich Grant. The cropped photo. “What’s that random hand on your shoulder?”
I realize LinkedIn is trying to stress the importance of having a photo on your profile, but the annoying photo show is not accomplishing its intention. Or perhaps the people who are declaring their new photo are the ones who are not hitting the mark. Before you post your new photo, make sure it represents you as a professional networker, not a Facebook friend.
Photo, Flickr, Irene Ferrari