Over the last few months there have been a rash of heated posts and discussion on LinkedIn. Their topics do not really matter. What does matter and is our issue at hand is that the option to hover over a name and learn something about the person who left a comment, is not currently available. The only clue someone has as to who you are is your profile photo. It is too much hassle to go back and forth to view each complete profile before trying to comment or respond to someone. As important as your profile photo ever was, it now takes on a new urgency that it reflect a professional image.
To maintain that professional image here are five things not to do for your profile photo:
Children and Pets:
Do not use a picture of you at your child’s class play or running your dog around the park. Save those photos for Facebook. These personal photos are hopefully not reflective of how you conduct business. Yes, you want to create relationships. Being human helps you to do that. But, create the relationship with a professional foundation. Then you can go back and add personal details to enhance the relationship.
The Social Pose
This style photo is mainly an issue for young women who have not quite figured it out yet. It is not an issue of sexism, it is an issue of professional versus social. If you are going to stand as you would at a bar on your off time, you cannot expect anyone to take you as seriously as they would if you were posed in a suit in an office.
The Missing Photo
No photo = no feeling of connection. You would not go to an in-person event with a paper bag over your head, so why are you wearing a bag on LinkedIn? There are situations where people do not want to have their face online like that, but there are professional options – even a caricature would be a better option than the blank photo. Not having the budget for a photographer is also not an excuse. Use your cell phone and take a selfie with a slightly downward angle – or ask someone else to take the photo for you. Use a neutral background and you are set.
A Company Logo
You may own your company, but are not your company. Each should have their own identity. If you want to showcase your company create a company page and utilize it to share and interact, but your profile is just that – YOUR profile, you, so show it off and talk about how you help your customers and let people relate to you the person separate and apart form your company. You can always share company updates with your personal profile. Don’t confuse the two.
The Family Photo
Your family is lovely, but it is not your professional self so don’t use that portrait you had taken last month to give your mother-in-law as your professional presence. You should have had the photographer take a single photo of you alone at the same time. Enough said on this topic.
Bonus Don’t for Your Profile Photo:
The Graphic Image – this tells me nothing about you or your company
Been inspired to update your photo? Need a photographer?
We have a number of excellent photographers that we recommend for headshots (as well as corporate events) Message us and we will connect you.