Think it's safer to skip the photo on LinkedIn? According to Business Insider, you may be doing more harm than good by going photo-free.
While it's true that you'll avoid looks-based discrimination (no one will know how young, old, or attractive you are), you're allowing network's imaginations to run wild—and not in a good way. According to a source in the article, "not having a photo on your LinkedIn profile will make others assume that you're either "really ugly" or "don't know how to upload a picture.""
What's worse is that new contacts may not click at all—LinkedIn's Connection Director "said the site's own research finds that profiles are "seven times more likely to be viewed" if a photo is included," according to BI.
Yikes. Is fear of messing up your photo holding you back? Follow these simple guidelines and you'll be picture perfect:
1. Look alive
Professional doesn't have to mean serious. The most effective picture will feature the face you'd show in client meetings: confident, but relaxed, and of course, smiling.
Also, have a goofy personality may be one of your selling points, but save duck faces or protruding tongues for Facebook. Friends only!
2. Dress the part
You don't need to wear a full suit, but this is not the venue for cocktail attire or hiking gear. Again, save pictures of hobbies and your night life experiences for other, less formal social media outfits.
Think business casual, just especially flattering. Wear colors that make you look healthy, shapes that cut a professional figure, and iron, iron, iron!
3. Watch the background
You can't go wrong with plain white, but consider who your target audience is for the best impression. Will a simple shot of your at your desk suffice? Or maybe a picture of you in sketching on a white board, or manning the booth at a convention makes more sense.
Just be careful to leave out any less than professional props: alcohol, a goofy Halloween photo on your bulletin board, pets, or heaven forbid, bridesmaids (wedding photos are definitely, 100% out).
4. Keep it quality
LinkedIn photos are small—you can't afford to have low resolution.
Make sure your pictures are pixel free, and zoomed in enough that your face is the star of the show. And if the resizing distorts your photo, cut your losses and take a new one.
5. Have a picture of YOU
It sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people use their company logo--or a group shot of with 200 other employees, or a favorite cartoon character--as a LinkedIn picture.
Pride in your company is great, but the only product people are buying on a site like LinkedIn is you. Make yourself the main event.
--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com
Should You Include A Picture On Your LinkedIn Profile? (Business Insider)
The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Choosing A LinkedIn Photo (Business Insider)
Fear Factor: Networking Tools that Really Aren't Scary
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