Linkedin is a a business oriented social networking service. People use it to display their CVs and have recruiters (or headhunters) approach them for employment opportunities or even to network with people in similar fields. Companies also can create their page and share news, articles, and any other important issues. Some people use it to share their experiences and post articles they wrote in hope someone might listen to them. Like any other social networking service, Linkedin gives the opportunity to post a photo of yourself.
Being a member of the Linkedin community for a few years, I have come across many photos of people I know (and people I don’t know) that make me wonder what they were thinking when they chose to upload their photo. Well, I then decided to scroll down the list of People You May Know and be struck with disbelief. Since this is a professional social networking site, I thought that people would care about their image; I mean, their profiles are open for recruiters and maybe their future bosses.
I came up with the following tips:
1- Selfies using any Snapchat filters are not acceptable. Do not, under any circumstances, believe that anyone would recruit you if you have dog ears or a flower halo above your head. Even if you think you look cute, this is not the right picture. I could even say that selfies are not acceptable because the angle is all wrong and shows that you did not take the time nor effort to have a professional picture taken.
2- A cartoon drawing of yourself is not OK unless you are the artist and are trying to show your talent.
3- A picture of yourself sitting behind a huge desk just makes you seem desperate. Don’t top it off acting like you’re busy writing something either. It’s so obvious.
4- A picture of you caught in mid-laugh. This is not Facebook and it may be one of your favorite but keep it for your social group only.
5- Do not post a picture of yourself behind a billiard table. Do not post a picture of yourself with any weird background such as the kitchen (unless you’re a chef), or in a party, or on vacation with the beach behind you. You want to seem like you are at work, wearing work clothes, and getting work done. If your work is associated with healthy living and yoga, for example, a picture with some tress in the background may be alright. But if you have nothing to do with nature, stay away from it.
6- Look approachable. Post a picture that makes you look approachable. A nice smile goes a long way. You don’t want your picture to resemble a mug shot nor an adult dating service profile pic.
7- Do not post a picture with you wearing a cowboy hat (or any kind of hat). Do not post a picture with sunglasses, people want to see your face.
8- I’m not 100% sure of this point as it may go either way. I have seem a few pictures with the person holding a camera and another listening in his headset. I think it’s a smart thing to be done, that is, showing people what you do; but some recruiters might not appreciate the obviousness. This should be taken carefully, I wouldn’t feel so keen about a bank teller holding money in his hands.
9- Make sure the picture is clear and your face shows: stay away from shadows. Don’t use a picture with you covering your face with your arm, nor a picture with you looking away.
10- Do not use your children’s pictures. Again, this is a professional networking site, people will want to see what you are doing not how old your child is. You are NOT trying to get your children employed so keep them out.
11- If you choose to post a picture with something that identifies your current job, go ahead but know that you are not your job. You have a set of knowledge, skills, and abilities that are deeper than any job can provide. Plus, when or if you leave your job, you don’t want to forget to change your picture or you’ll end up looking desperate. Don’t wear your uniform in your picture either (for those who have uniforms in their jobs).
12- Do not post yourself bowling, ice skating, playing soccer, playing with your pet tiger, eating out with your friends, or doing what you do in your spare time. You are supposed to portray how you are at work, not out of work. People want to employ you, not date you.
13- Keep your image right side up. Yes, some people have their pictures sideways. Would you ever submit your CV with your picture printed sideways?
14- Don’t just crop your face from a group picture and settle for that. This just shows that you’re lazy. Also, don’t post yourself with someone else, it confuses people as to which one you are.
15- Make sure your image isn’t so much of a close up nor too far to be unidentifiable. You want people to recognize you, half a face is not identifiable.
16- Do not post a picture of a logo unless you are a company. Do not post a picture of your shoes, bag, sunglasses, or cup of coffee. Again, this is not Snapchat.
These are just a few pointers I came up with after paying attention to the different Linkedin profile pictures, you can also go through your list of friends and can easily identify the best pictures that portray strength, confidence, and reliability. Stay away from photoshopped images that look nothing like you and try to present yourself professionally.
Remember, you don’t want to resemble any funny high school yearbook pictures, you should know better now than what you knew at 18.
My profile pic? I still didn’t find one that I’m happy with so wish me luck.