Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Does It Really Matter If I Have a Professional Profile Picture?

Only if you want to network successfully and leverage your personal brand. . .

Nicole and I make it our business to stay informed on the subject of social media relative to developing one’s personal brand and online professional presence. 

We’ve shared more than a few head-scratching conversations on why a fair number of people choose to post no profile picture at all. 

We agree, for some, it could be not knowing how to upload or post a picture, for others, not having a good picture may be the inhibitor, and, for a few, it may come down to privacy and security concerns.

So, Does it really matter if someone has a profile picture on LinkedIn, website or blog?’  

We both admitted we were more likely to skip over or speed through the profiles of people who didn’t include a photo as part of their online profile.  This left us wondering if other people do the same.  Turns out we aren’t . . .

Reasons to have a profile photo -

  Statistically, the majority of people who don’t include a profile picture are less likely to have their profile considered as someone to get to know, hire or do business with. 

  A recent Wall Street Journal article noted LinkedIn research that claimed a person with a good profile picture is 7 times more likely to be viewed than the person who has no picture or has used a logo, avatar or some other representation for a profile picture.

  The Executive Branding Guide from Job-Hunt emphasizes that people will connect more easily and believe your content more when your photo accompanies it.  The guide also points out, networking and branding is all about creating connections.  Therefore, when people view your profile they are looking for information that will help them know, like and trust you.  Your profile picture helps you create an emotional connection and improves your networking success.

  Additionally, use your photo to help you make a good first impression and communicate attributes like confidence, poise, professionalism, approachability, etc.

  Having a profile photo depicts you as being knowledgeable in the use of social media, therefore, more current.

Final Note: Think of your profile picture as a virtual handshake, to not extend it in a professional and welcoming way could be perceived as an unfriendly gesture.   You may have many reasons to not put up a profile picture, but experts all agree the benefits will far outweigh your concerns.

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