If you drive by a house with an unkempt lawn, what’s your immediate thought? If you’re like most people, you probably make a snap judgment that the owner is lazy or inept. “Everyone else got it done,” we think. “Why didn’t they?”
As social media use becomes more common, the same kinds of small negative impressions are being registered when others visit your social media profiles. One example: what a LinkedIn page without a photo might signal to a visitor:
- That you don’t know how to upload a photo (and are therefore incompetent)
- That you haven’t taken the time to do it (and are therefore lazy)
- That you don’t have a photo of yourself that you like (and are therefore either unattractive or lacking in confidence)
This may seem unfair. You may think “I’ve been working on more important things” or “All my good photos are on my work computer and I only access LinkedIn from home.” Unfortunately, the audience isn’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt. After all, when we see a lawn that needs mowing, we usually don’t cut the owner any slack. Regardless of whether there’s more to the story–a broken mower or a broken arm, perhaps–we go with the information we have, and it registers as a negative impression.
So before any more time goes by, take the time to add a photo to your LinkedIn profile. Here’s how you do it:
- Ensure you have a photo loaded on to your computer and that know where to find it. Make sure it’s a vertically-oriented, professional photo (NOT one of you at play, with a spouse, with a dog, etc., unless that’s somehow related to your work) smaller than 4 MB. Even if you prefer how you looked five years ago, use something that looks like the present-day you.
- Log in to LinkedIn
- On the home page, click on Profile, then Edit Profile. You’ll see something that looks like this (absent the photo, of course):
- Click on the “Edit” link under the photo box
- Click on “Choose file”; select it from the correct folder on your hard drive
- Click on “Upload photo”
- Click on “Save settings” and you’re done
- If you still have problems, contact me and I’ll walk you through it
One more thing: many people think you should change our your LinkedIn photo often to mix things up and get the audience’s attention. I think the opposite is true: our eyes are drawn to familiar images, so your profile photo will stand out only if it’s recognizable. Change it out once or twice a year if you want, but it’s not necessary to do it more often (unless your appearance changes dramatically, of course).
Now get out your camera, smile and get it done.