Would you go to a cocktail party in your cycling gear? Would you go to a business networking event in your wedding dress? Would you attend a job interview with a glass of wine in your hand? I don’t think so. It begs the question then, why do we see these types of photos being used people’s profile shots on LinkedIn?
In the business of ‘search and recruitment’, we spend a lot of time on LinkedIn – looking for talent and generally getting to know who you are and your experience within industry. This is especially helpful if we are meeting for the first time and want to see what you look like so we don’t approach the wrong person at a café or it may be that we are reviewing resumes and want to see a professional image consistent with your formal application. More and more we find that people are using photos that aren’t helpful, up to date or even remotely professional. Here are some of the biggest blunders we have observed:
- No photo – if there is no photo, the assumption can be what’s wrong? What are you trying to hide? The whole point of LinkedIn is to network and increase your professional connections – so you need to be willing to share and help people recall who you are. Putting a face to a name is important.
- Using company logos for your profile shot – this is not you or who you are. That is what a company page is for.
- Cartoon picture – okay so you might have a good sense of humour, but we like to know who we are dealing with. I’m yet to meet Road Runner in the flesh!
- Group shots – hmmm are you the blond or the brunette? Considering this is an individual profile, it should be an individual picture.
- Social shot – this is not a dating site. Great that you enjoy cycling, fishing, walks on the beach, sunsets etc, just don’t use them here, save these photos for Facebook.
- No “Selfies” – Instagram maybe, but using a professional shot on LinkedIn is your best choice.
We know some of you will find our comments controversial, or you may think well I’m not actively on the job market so who cares – but a good mentor once said to me, think of Facebook as a pub, Twitter as cocktail party and LinkedIn as a networking function. With that in mind, think of your current photo and ask yourself is this how you would present at a professional networking event or a job interview? Having a professional, clear and up to date photo combined with a complete profile with current title and key skills and competencies, will definitely help you stand out from the crowd. Having professional consistency across all platforms is key.