Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LinkedIn Profile Pictures Dos and Don’ts

What Does Your Professional Profile Picture Say About You?

If you use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the latest addition, Google+, it’s no surprise that as social media circles continue to expand it’s not just our family and friends checking us out online.

A survey conducted by Jobvite in 2011 reported that 89% of US companies will use social networks to look for or review candidates.   In fact, companies are now hiring or using social media savvy professional to vet prospective employees and business contacts. 

In the past few years there has been a steady and significant rise in Social Recruiting efforts to find and place employees making it more important than ever to maintain an up-to-date and professional profile and presence online.

Nicole and I can’t stress enough that having a winning profile starts with the right photo.  So, we’ve compiled a list of simple Dos and Don’ts for capturing your best LinkedIn or professional profile picture.

Do use a quality photo of yourself.  It’s best to use one that is professionally taken where you are the only subject and one that you are proud of.
Do use a picture in which you are professionally dressed.  First impressions are just as important in the virtual world as they are face-to-face.  Your profile picture is your ‘handshake’ and serves as your online introduction to others.
Do keep in mind that LinkedIn is not Facebook and you should not forget the nature of what it means to present yourself as a professional in terms of dress, body language, grooming and setting.
Do keep your profile pictures updated.  It’s recommended that you update your profile picture at least once a year, especially if you’ve changed your appearance significantly, e.g. a new haircut.  Staying current will help others identify you and avoid confusion.
Do smile and allow your personality to shine through.  People are most attracted to those they feel are friendly, approachable and likable.
Don’t use pictures from vacations, group shots, parties, with other family members or pets.   Stay away from cropping your face out of these types of photos as well.   It communicates that you’re not professionally prepared.
Don’t use poor quality photos, logos and avatars.  This is your profile and you should be fully represented.

Final Note: Your LinkedIn profile picture is an important component to crafting your online presence and ‘personal brand’, so keep this in mind when taking or choosing your profile picture.   Ask yourself, ‘How do I wish to be perceived?”  “What do I want people to think about me, or, what qualities do I want to convey?”  Aim for a shot that shows a friendly, professional-looking photo with a positive image.

Photo Credit by Christopher Ameruso / Barcroft U

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