LinkedIn Photos – Do People REALLY make Assumptions about them?
Yep. Most profile photos are processed at the unconscious level though. Human nature takes over and ensures we make certain determinations just from what we see – it’s a caveman fight or flight thing, you just can’t help it.
I did a brief trawl of profile photos on LinkedIn before writing this post (a re-working of my 2015 article) and came across the following examples of less-than-best-practice:
1. Older chap with big smile and (presumably) granddaughter’s legs draped over his shoulders (this is not FaceBook)
2. Younger man in shorts, t-shirt and sunnies about to board a private jet with similarly attired mates, probably his stag “do.” (again, this is not FaceBook)
3. Bikini, hot-pants or speedo-clad individuals (this is not Tinder (though I do wonder))
4. Company logo instead of a photo – you’re hiding, we need to see who you are
5. Worst of all (potentially) – no photo.
Fact: Your LinkedIn Profile is 14 x more likely to be viewed if you have a photo.
Ask Yourself these Key Questions
- Is your profile photo current?
- Will we recognise you when we meet you in office reception or in that coffee shop?
- What might you inadvertently cause people to think when they actually meet you and discover your photo – which they’ve made some degree of buying judgment on (back to the caveman thing) – was actually taken 10-years ago…at a party? Are you so lacking confidence in the ageing process? What else are you lacking?
I know this currency thing can be harder for some people than others but, to some extent, there is a misrepresentation issue going on, which could lead to a lack of trust – in which case you’ve lost before you started.
At the very minimum, an older photo of you raises questions – unhelpful questions – about you just when you want people thinking positive thoughts about you – your profile image confirms who you are – I recognise you from your LinkedIn profile photo!
Your Profile Photo confirms who you really are, so make sure it’s the best one possible!
Is your LinkedIn image of you on your wedding day? In a park with the children (or grandchildren)? Or maybe from that time when you white-water rafted down the Rio Bravo – full of pride and excitement maybe…but relevant for LinkedIn? Come on!
These are the 3 main features your photo needs to incorporate:
1. Clear view of your face from chest upwards, and in-focus
2. Smile or hint of a smile; not a scowl, nor full-blown hysteria
3. Normal business attire – what you’d normally wear at work (unless you are, in fact, a bikini model)
In short, your LinkedIn Profile photo needs to be clear, unexciting, authentically you.