Almost 100 percent of the attendees of the business groups that I speak in front of or train are using LinkedIn. The amount that they use LinkedIn varies depending on the industry. From a networking perspective, LinkedIn is a valuable tool for anyone seeking to grow their brand, attract attention, grow their business, find a job, advance their career or share their knowledge.
As I always say, LinkedIn is where your brand lives. You need to project the best image possible and make the best first impression possible. LinkedIn studies have shown that only one in seven people will even look at a profile if it does not have a photo. I am shocked to see some of the horrific, confusing and silly photos that people use in their LinkedIn profiles. I thought I would share a few of these with you.
The following are all profile images that I have found. I have removed names, but these are all photos from public pages and once you put something online, it is fair game.
Will the real profile owner please raise their hand?
While it is great to work in teams, your LinkedIn profile is your own digital property. Don’t share it with others. Having multiple people in your photo causes confusion.
Keep the vacation photos to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Your profile viewers on LinkedIn don’t know you and don’t care about your vacation yet. Your photo needs to be clean and clear; don’t use a blurry photo, ever.
This is actually the profile image used by a female CPA. Can you believe it? Would you would with a professional who uses and image like this? How serious are they, especially if they are going to provide you information about your taxes and finances?
In the dark
This is not a horrible photo but you can barely see the guy. A dark photo does not reflect a bright and positive image. Why is it dark? Is the person hiding something?
Yes this young attorney is happy and smiled for the camera. There are so many problems with this photo I don’t know where to start. Blurry, poorly cropped, taken at a party, pixelated and he is not standing straight. Another professional who presents himself in a very confusing way. Not a good first impression at all.
Woman in the mask
Well it’s not a mask, but it looks like what Catwoman or another cartoon villain would wear. It is not likely that if you looked at this woman’s profile photo and then she walked up to you in the real world that you would recognize her. Your image online should help people to recognize you in the real world at meetings or networking events.
Give me a hug!
Really, this is actually a real profile photo. They did not even take the time to get a shot with them alone. This type of photo shows that the he really does not care about his image and what others think of him. Poor judgment in the choice of a photo reflects on how you are perceived. When people have choices they will choose people with good judgment over those who lack it.
Four of a kind – Aces
A nice image for a gambler, but this is the profile photo of a real estate agent. Are you hiring a gambler to sell your home? Stay away from logos and graphics. Use your photo and you can use graphics in other parts of your profile.
And he’s off!
Wow. Happy that this guy had fun at the Kentucky Derby. He is not in the racing industry and this photo, even if it was good quality, is just perplexing.
A Formal Event
I am not a fan of profile photos of people in tuxedos, but if they are done right then they can work. Another CPA who just picked a photo to fill the spot without thinking of his image and what people will be thinking.
A bridge too far
You must be in the center of your photo and your face needs to be clearly seen. Far off nature shots should not be used on LinkedIn.
Lights, Camera, Action!
This is an image of a young lady who works in TV. I like that fact that it was shot in the place of business, but a selfie with poor lighting does not help her brand.
When resizing images you must do it to scale. This image was compressed incorrectly and makes it look odd. Again, rushing to have an image is no excuse. Take the time to properly size the image in your profile.
Wearing sunglass is also a mistake. Glasses hide your eyes and shows that you may be hiding something. It also hinders the ability of others to build trust with you. In the car – well this is also not the best place to present an image of who you are and what you do. This guy was not a professional driver, so the context is not appropriate.
This maybe a wedding shot and it is a nice photo but it does not project the right image for LinkedIn. Formal clothing is ok but this shot is cropped and it likely is not the image that this woman presents on a regular basis. Not horrible, but she can do much better.
No man’s land.
Not having a photo is the biggest mistake of all. However, it is best to wait until you have a quality headshot to use to put on your profile. You are best to wait on creating your profile or using your profile until you have the appropriate headshot.
These are only a few examples of images that create confusion and do not present the right image online and on LinkedIn, the world largest business networking community. It is essential that you make a good first impression and your profile image plays a major part in this. A good impression allows you to start off relationships and build trust in a more effective way.
What about the people you don’t know? Your LinkedIn profile is where they will get their first impression. Will it be a positive impression? How about if they are going to meet you for the first time and they are looking at your LinkedIn profile to get an idea of what you look like so when you meet them at a restaurant for lunch they know what you look like? If you look nothing like your image online, what does it say about you and how much do you care about your image? If you don’t care about your image and brand why should anyone else?
What about selfies? Never use a selfie for a profile photo.
There is only one easy fix to all of this. Spend the money and get a professional headshot done. This will present the right image on LinkedIn and you will make a good impression on those who visit your brand page. The small investment may prove to be priceless for your brand.
By Bill Corbett
Corbett Public Relations Long Island and the World