Your LinkedIn Picture

I suddenly feel an urge to write this entry. I help people on a daily basis to write and brand their professional image, both by developing their LinkedIn content and writing their resumes. I also teach them job search techniques and coach them on how to best manage job interviews. My job is to teach them how to help them sell themselves better in front of the rest of the competition.

Sitting down with a client, listening to their stories and writing them down is always fascinating. Translating their experiences into worth reading accomplishments is like magic, people get to see themselves under a light some of them had never even dreamed of. When I have the chance to explain someone the difference between giving an amateur interview answer and a professional answer and have them come back for a practice, it is stunning to hear the same person answer questions appropriately and with purpose.

Believe it or not, one of things I struggle the most as a coach is people’s Social Media pictures, especially, LinkedIn. A lot of them don’t seem to give it the importance it has. How do you tell a client, “please that picture is awful! You look plain ridiculous with that 80s haircut!” without hurting their feelings?. The hardest part is when you manage to suggest they change their picture and they publish a picture that looks even worse. How do you tell someone? “Hey, you look even worse in that picture”. It’s not easy. So I’ve come up with some principles a good Social Media, in this case LinkedIn, picture should have.

  1. The passport picture. Please DO NOT use a passport picture in which you are looking straight in front to the camera. You know, those pictures in which you can perfectly add a sign at the bottom that says “Wanted, dead or alive”. Instead go for a more casual look. Your body to the side maybe.
  2. Smile. Social Media is about connecting. Nobody wants to reach out to someone who looks mad, upset or unreachable. Try to look approachable and willing to connect.
  3. Too far or too close. Full body pictures make no sense on a site like LinkedIn. It is more proper to have a full face picture. Some people cut the top of bottom of their heads. Please take the time to crop your picture appropriately. It talks about you and how you want to portray yourself as a professional.
  4. Black and white. Some people can get away with black and white, I personally think that full color pictures are more appropriate for a professional site. At the end of the day depends on how the original is.
  5. Blurry pictures. With today’s technology there is no excuse to take pictures of pictures, scan old pictures or even upload small pictures that become extremely blurry. Any smartphone today can take a decent picture that can be fixed and upload into any website.
  6. Non related pictures. Such as avatars, logos, landscapes, quotes, etc. are not appropriate.

So, instead of telling you how good or awful you look make sure to compare your picture to this short list. If you have most of it, you should be fine. If not, I suggest you take as many selfies as you want and then choose a couple of pictures you might like, or you can hire a professional to have your picture taken. Remember though, the more natural looking, the more reachable you look, the better.

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