Who’s looking at your LinkedIn profile picture? More people than you think.
I often write about the importance of developing and building your personal brand. This also means taking control of your personal and professional brand on the Internet. Some people have told me that not posting a photo on LinkedIn is a good thing because it helps avoid discrimination. But if a company or a person is going to discriminate against you because of age, sex or race the discrimination will happen regardless once you come in for that interview. That’s not the type of company you’d want to work for anyways. You do however want to work for a company that looks at your whole package and all that you have to offer. A LinkedIn profile with a professional photo can make or break you.
On Twitter the message is less subtle; if don’t have a profile photo, you’re by default an ‘egg’. Meaning you haven’t hatched into the world of social media. On LinkedIn everyone is a ‘male silhouette’.
How Will You Personally Brand Yourself?
A complete LinkedIn profile speaks volumes about the person’s level of professionalism. A completed LinkedIn profile can indicate to recruiters that this person has the complete package. If someone who just graduated from university has a professional photo and completed profile, this would indicate to me that this person is an up-and-comer and go-getter. These individuals get the importance of brand – essential to any role in any company.
Recognition and Power of Networking
Imagine meeting a recruiter at a large networking event. You impress them and months later you’re applying for a position at that company. Recruiters usually visit a candidate’s LinkedIn profile upon receiving thousands of CVs (80 percent of all recruiters do this). It could be that they visit your account and recognise you from the photo. You’re guaranteed that the recruiter will remember the personal connection you’ve established and chances are you’d get the invitation for the interview.
Is Your Photo Industry Appropriate?
This all goes back to branding. What do you want your potential employer to remember you by? At an interview you have to fit the part by acting and speaking the part. In this stage it comes down to looking like you fit the part. For example, if you are involved in the field of government, it may be appropriate to have a professional photo of yourself with your country’s flag in the background. If you work in construction, would a professional photo of you in a hard-hat make you look more the part? If you work in a creative industry – show your creativity and do something different with your photo. Or perhaps you may want to think about a physical location that speaks to your industry. Will you take your photo in front of Wall Street or Parliament?
The Risk of No Picture
Recruiters spend more time on profiles that have a photo. Why lose your audience’s attention so quickly? Think about it – most people move off of social media profiles without a picture. Don’t you? LinkedIn has said that entries in LinkedIn search results with photos beside them are seven times more likely to be clicked on than entries without photos.
Oh, Those Grainy-pixelated Photos
Another mistake candidates make is cropping an image of themselves out of an existing photo. This often will make the image appear very pixelated on LinkedIn. This shows that you didn’t take the time to brand yourself properly. If you can’t take the time to brand yourself, a recruiter may link that to the fact that you wouldn’t be able to brand the future company to your best ability. All employees are eventually brand ambassadors. Today there are hundreds of freelance sites from Freelancer.com to Elance.com. Maximize your resources; freelancers are out there to help you with a professional headshot.
Get your professional photo right and get noticed.