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Do’s and Don’ts for your LinkedIn Profile Picture

It has been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. If this is true, then your profile picture is the window to your LinkedIn identity! I get asked a ton of questions about LinkedIn, ranging from “what is LinkedIn” to “how do I increase views of my profile.” I don’t consider myself to be an uber-guru of all things LinkedIn like the awesome Stacy Donovan Zapar; however, having been using LinkedIn since the early days of its inception and having used it to recruit staff for an equal number of years, I feel “qualified” to offer up a bit of advice on the subject matter. Plus, consider this advice is coming from someone who has been recruiting and hiring staff for 19+ years so I spend a lot of time looking at resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

LI Logo #2

If you do a Google search for “LinkedIn tips”, you will get over 301 MILLION hits! Suffice it to say, there is a lot of advice out there. While I have blogged about LinkedIn a lot with specific posts on tips and tricks, I want to hone in on one particular area that I think folks could use a bit of specific advice in and that is the LinkedIn profile picture. To that extent, here are my top tips when it comes to managing your profile picture:

  1. Do have a picture – this is not optional. Do not have the shadow/silhouette figure up there. Nothing turns a recruiter off more than seeing this, so do yourself a favour, get someone to take a decent professional picture (plain background) and get it up on your profile page –ASAP.
  2. Do not use an image or logo as your picture – unless you are some well- known graphics designer and you have a recognizable image, you need to have a picture of you up there and not an image of something.
  3. Do not use a picture of you at a party, wedding or other social event. It makes you look like an amateur if your profile picture is cropped from some social event. Worse yet, you often see the creepy arm of another person on you or vice versa. Resist the urge to be lazy and make sure you get a decent picture done.
  4. Do not use a scan of another picture as your profile picture –believe it or not, I have seen people use a scan of their passport or driver’s license photo as their profile picture. Suffice it to say, this looks less then professional – especially with the security lines showing through it.
  5. Do not have an action picture as your profile picture – it is cool that you are a great surfer, skier, runner, etc.; however,  we do not need to see a LinkedIn picture of you doing that – save it for Facebook.
  6. Do not use pictures of you on vacation as your image – see point #3 above for reasons. We get it, you enjoyed your trip to Paris and the Eiffel Tower is awesome, but it isn’t something we want to see on LinkedIn…put it on Facebook instead.
  7. Do make sure the picture is representative of your professional image. Pictures of you in a track suit or sports jersey, regardless of the quality of the image and/or success of your particular team, this is a big no-no.
  8. Do make sure your picture is shoulders and above only. Once you start getting into full length photos and trying to include background images, your photo quality and overall image rapidly deteriorates.  In the same vein, a picture that is a close up shot of just your face, is well, too close…and really creepy.
  9. Do not have a profile picture that includes your family, children or pets. It simply isn’t professional and not the image you want to portray. Again, those pictures are for Facebook, not LinkedIn.
  10. Do not have a profile picture where you are wearing a hat (baseball, sun, cowboy, etc.) of any kind (or sunglasses). You wouldn’t show up at a job interview dressed like that, so don’t portray yourself on LinkedIn that way.

Bonus tip – Do make sure your picture uses up the majority of the allowable space/sizing. Nothing is worse than that teeny tiny 2cm x 2cm square picture that is dropped in the middle of the larger spacing that you have. Utilize the space provided and make sure your profile picture pops!

There you have it, my top 10 plus bonus do’s and don’ts for your profile pic. Do yourself a favour and take 5 minutes to see if you are committing any of these faux pas. If you are, take action and correct immediately. This typically starts by getting a decent digital photo of yourself taken by someone with a little bit of photography know how.

Is there anything I have missed? Hit me up in the comments and I will add it in. Want to know if your picture is up to par? Drop me a line and I will let you know – if you can handle the truth that is. As always, I welcome your comments and feedback.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org

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Is being Anonymous really “Social?”

Confession, I have a healthy dose of curiosity in my DNA. I like to know what is going on, how things are working, etc. To that extent, LinkedIn is like catnip for my curiosity. Each morning I like to check my news feed, see who has moved on to different positions and what people are sharing across their networks. One of my favourite things to check is to see who has been viewing my profile. From a personal branding and LinkedIn profile perspective, it is interesting to see what my “reach” is. Is my message getting out there? Are prospective employees seeing me? What type of person is “finding” me out there?

Bag on headI have to say though, one my peeves with the “whose viewed your profile” section is when I click on that section and I see that greyed out, silhouette head with this message:

LinkedIn member

This member chose to be shown as anonymous

Aaagghh – Really!? You are on a social media site…be SOCIAL! This is a professional networking site, why would you have your settings set so that other people can’t see who you are? Here is the thing, there must be a reason you checked out my profile? So, hit me up with an InMail. If you want to connect for whatever reason, just send me a request with a quick note as to why. But why, why, why would you be anonymous on social media networking site…I just don’t get it. I once read somewhere (apologies to the author) that being anonymous on a social media site like this is like going to a party with a bag over your head. It makes sense when you think about it. At the very least, it is like going to a networking event and lurking around, listening to conversations, but not introducing yourself (while wearing a bag over your head!)

I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you have this setting on and you don’t know it. There is an easy fix:

Go to the top right corner of your main page and hover your cursor over your profile picture. Then, scroll down to Privacy and Settings – Manage. Click on Manage. Then half way down the middle of the page, under Privacy Controls, click on “Select what others see when you’ve viewed their profile.” Once there, make sure “Your name and headline” is selected. It is that easy. Now you are all set to be more “social” on social media! Who knows, maybe you will connect with even more interesting people this way. At the very least, you give me a reason to now check out your profile and connect!

So please, no more “anonymous user” views – let’s be more social. As always, I would love to hear from you.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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