5 Things to Avoid in Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

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The Importance of your LinkedIn Profile Photo

In the grand theatre of LinkedIn, your profile picture assumes the lead role. It’s not just a digital ID; it’s your first introduction, your chance to make that all-important eye contact, albeit virtually. As personal branding expert William Arruda once quipped, “Your photo is your logo.” Mess it up, and it’s the equivalent of wearing pajamas to a job interview. So, let’s delve into some common, albeit amusing, LinkedIn profile photos missteps and provide you with the necessary guidance to ensure your profile picture sings professionalism.

Your professionalism will be judged based upon the quality of your LinkedIn profile photo.

Ghostly Profiles – A LinkedIn Horror Story

The omission of a profile picture is an outright boo-boo. It’s like showing up to the party but choosing to stand invisible in a corner. You’re there, but no one knows it. As LinkedIn expert and author, Melanie Dodaro, aptly warns, “Profiles without photos are 14 times less likely to be viewed.” Thus, an absent profile picture on LinkedIn could be read as, “Caution: Boredom zone ahead!” which is far from an invitation for further exploration.

Consider this the cornerstone of building your LinkedIn profile. An excellent profile picture can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed. You could have the most impressive resume and experience, but without a photo, it’s like presenting a book without a cover. This isn’t the time for modesty or camera shyness. So, step into the light and let the LinkedIn world see who they’re dealing with.

The Multiplicity Mishap

Your LinkedIn profile is your personal billboard, not a comic strip or family album. A group shot on LinkedIn is confusing, distracting, and quite frankly, a bit annoying. Picture this: You’re searching for a specific person in a crowd photo, squinting your eyes, tilting your head, just trying to figure out who’s who. Not a great user experience, right? Now, apply that to a LinkedIn profile.

As tempting as it might be to showcase your well-dressed family or your pet’s adorable antics, remember, LinkedIn is about promoting you, professionally. It’s your chance to shine independently and show what you bring to the professional table. So let your profile picture be an exclusive, one-person show.

The Background Bloopers

Backgrounds matter, and often, less is more. Your profile picture’s backdrop should help emphasize you, not steal your thunder. A strange, busy, or distracting background can turn your profile photo into a visual circus. We’re talking about exotic animals, wild parties, or your beloved action figure collection. These are great conversation starters at a social gathering, but on LinkedIn? They’re the equivalent of a loud, off-tune trumpet in a symphony.

You want to be the main and only focus of the photo. Anything else distracts the viewer and may even cause them to make incorrect conclusions about you and your habits and lifestyle. Some of the backgrounds I’ve seen include:

  • A large number of open bottles of whiskey and other alcoholic beverages.
  • A cemetery (yes, I’ve seen LinkedIn profile photos with a cemetery in the background.)
  • Semi-pornographic pictures hanging on the wall
  • General mess and clutter

All of these types of backgrounds lead to a bad impression.

So what do you want in the background? Something bland that covers the space without drawing attention away from you. White, cream, black or even some abstract colors will do well.

Brand name expert and author, Louise Karch, puts it succinctly, “Your backdrop should help you, not distract.” The aim here is to maintain a clean, distraction-free background. Think along the lines of solid, muted colors or a professional setting that resonates with your role or industry. It should elevate your persona and complement the professional image you’re trying to project.

The Selfie Slip-up

LinkedIn Profile PhotoIn this digital age, the allure of the selfie is undeniable. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and let’s face it, it can be quite fun. But, as with wearing a baseball cap to a wedding, there’s a time and place for everything. LinkedIn is not that place for a selfie.

An unflattering angle, poor lighting, a questionable background, or an overly casual demeanor – these are the hallmarks of a classic selfie. They might fetch you likes on Instagram or Facebook, but on LinkedIn, they scream, “I couldn’t be bothered to put effort into this.” To paint a picture of credibility and seriousness, steer clear of selfies.

Cropped Shots – The Photographic Faux Pas

Cropped photos, though seemingly harmless, can be as detrimental as selfies in portraying your professional image. You might think you’re fooling everyone by cropping out your ex or a random bystander from that great picture of you, but those ghostly limbs peeping from the edges? They’re dead giveaways.

Your LinkedIn profile isn’t the platform for an amateur patchwork of cropped images. It sends out a subliminal message of disorganization and a lack of attention to detail. So, let’s leave the cropping tool for the family scrapbook and give your LinkedIn profile the respect it deserves with a well-thought-out, professionally clicked picture.

The Professional Photo Payoff

When it comes to LinkedIn profile photos, there’s no better investment than professional photography. By hiring a professional, you’re not just getting a photograph; you’re investing in a comprehensive package that comprises perfect lighting, the right pose, an appropriate backdrop, and a top-notch camera.

As Nancy Collamer, career expert at Forbes, recommends, getting your photo done by a professional can make all the difference. They’ll guide you on what to wear, how to position yourself, and even the right facial expression to adopt. The result? An image that effortlessly communicates ‘confident professional.’

The Finishing Touch

In conclusion, your LinkedIn photo is not just a digital placeholder; it’s your chance to make a lasting first impression in the professional realm. It’s the passport to your digital persona. A haphazardly chosen photo might make people prematurely click away, while a well-executed, professional image invites them to linger, explore, and engage.

So, take the time to ensure your LinkedIn profile photo is on point. Let it be the doorway to your professional journey, inviting visitors to come in and discover the brilliant professional that you are.

Richard Lowe

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