Why a photo on your LinkedIn profile is a must

Don't let this be your image on LinkedIn

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Log in to LinkedIn
  3. On the home page, click on Profile, then Edit Profile. You’ll see something that looks like this (absent the photo, of course):
  4. Click on the “Edit” link under the photo box
  5. Click on “Choose file”; select it from the correct folder on your hard drive
  6. Click on “Upload photo”
  7. Click on “Save settings” and you’re done
  8. 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.

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3 Responses to Why a photo on your LinkedIn profile is a must

  1. Q says:

    Thanks for the post. I like it.

  2. I agree completely. The photo reminds me of who someone is if I haven’t seen them in a while. Absolutely necessary. It’s social media – emphasis on social. If you hate photos of yourself, get over it. Just take your time and get a good one, or better yet, go to a pro who will likely do it for you inexpensively but produce something you’re happy to have.

  3. There is one more thing about the photo: if someone doesn’t have a photo 90% of the people will think that is a scam page. So those who are not there as a friend from the real world (it is not facebook) but want to offer jobs or are interested in the professional side of a person will not bother to get in touch. So a profile without a photo will backfire in any professional way I can think of.
    Thank you for the article. It is so important to educate new or unsure people about social media. That is the medium of the 21st century. If someone doesn’t represent themselves properly they can loose so many precious opportunity. I can see many amazing people who has tremendous knowledge in their field but they are not on the internet or not properly and the world looses the opportunity to find out about their work. Thank you for the article again:)

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