I used to think that someone’s LinkedIn photo could be a casual affair, but no more. Some people have run actual tests to see how many connection requests and professional inquiries they would get with a relaxed photo, as compared to a photo taken professionally. You guessed it. The professional photo won, hands down.
I am using one my wife took after I returned home from work. I’ll have to think about changing that. But, probably like most people, I am reluctant to spend the money.
If you choose to NOT post a photo at all, forget about it. We can be a shallow society. And in this shallow society, looks matter. Looks matter far more than they should, in my opinion.
Don’t have a photo with your profile? Potential connections, including future employers, might say, “What is she hiding?” If you post a picture taken at a family gathering, that will be judged against you. “What a clown! That’s not a professional photo!”
Remember, LinkedIn promotes itself as a professional environment, and your photo must be professional. Or at the very least, you need to “fake” professional very well. And that means a professionally taken photo of you, dressed professionally, from the shoulders up, smiling and approachable. The October 2015 edition of The Help Files gathers some professional advice to help you make a great impression with the best photo of yourself on LinkedIn.
Jerome Knyszewski writes about his experiences with compiling ratings on photos of himself. He used a web service to complete a ratings scale for each picture. The scale describes how his pictures appear, and uses the words “Competent,” “Likable,” and “Influential” to grade how each picture did. The results are quite eye-opening. Check out Jerome Knyszewski’s post for the details.
Do’s and Don’ts for LinkedIn photos are mostly common sense. Don’t post your picture with pets unless you’re a veterinarian. No kids either, unless you’re a teacher, nanny, or babysitter. The admonition to be neither too formal nor too informal draws a much finer line. Read Laura Entis’s article to discern those details..
For your LinkedIn profile photo, remember to smile, relax, and look directly at the camera. Oh, and your background shouldn’t be too distracting. Don’t use an old photo, either! Read Norine Dagliano’s post for more tips.
Okay, so we know that your LinkedIn photo should be a professional one, but how should you dress? Suit and tie? Like you’re going to church? If you like dazzling colors, should you adorn yourself in orange and red? Hint: The answer is no. How about white and yellow? Sorry, that’s also a no. For answers as to why you should avoid these colors in favor of others, read Donna Serdula’s post.
Jason Seiden also experimented with profile photos on LinkedIn. But he used students he was training on LinkedIn. He got their reactions to various headshots and poses, and got some surprising results. Want to learn which shot he posted on LinkedIn helped him to close a few deals? Read Jason Seiden’s full post for the nitty gritty.
Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content creators? Let’s network! I enjoy connecting with others in the industry. So drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, circle me on Google+, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.