There are three things that accompany you around the LinkedIn site and that you must use appropriately – your name, your professional headline and your photo.
When it comes to the photo, it may be stating the obvious but, first and foremost, it’s really important to have one in there! There are still people who, for whatever reason, decide to remain anonymous, perhaps out of coyness or some private reason of their own.
However, I would really encourage you not to leave it like that for five key reasons:
1. Personalise your Profile
Firstly, a photo really helps to personalise your profile. Words are good (that’s the way we communicate online after all) but it is in our nature to focus on images first and foremost. We then associate the information we have with that image or something else visual – it’s how the memory works. If you don’t give visitors to your profile that “hook” then you will be more easily forgotten. Seriously.
2. Help people find you
More and more, I hear from people I speak to that others are using LinkedIn to look them up ahead of a networking event or meeting. When that happens with you, you’ll want people to know what you look like – it will make you easier to spot primarily and help you get found too at the event, rather than you having to do all of the searching. Another good reason why you should always add your OWN photo rather than a logo or “comedy photo”!
3. Don’t break the rules
While it’s not against LinkedIn’s Terms and Conditions not to have a photo, they do specify that you should not put up drawings or cartoons and that you should have a head-shot photo there instead. Do remember that they are particularly unimpressed with just a company logo instead of your own image, so play it by the rules.
4. Don’t distract your visitors
Any time you have something on your profile which is “non standard” – again I’m thinking here of a logo for example – then what you are doing is putting doubt into people’s mind and making them wonder what you are trying to hide. As soon as they are thinking about that, they are not concentrating on the rest of your profile and the messages that you are trying to communicate to them. Bad move.
5. You need to stand out in the LinkedIn Search Results
Try this for yourself – do a few searches and note where you look first when you have a results page where there are some profiles with photos and some without. In case you were wondering, I guarantee that your eyes will go straight for the photos – it’s just the way that we work! So, bottom line is that if you don’t have a photo that you are essentially giving the advantage to your competitors on LinkedIn by “hiding away” on the results page. A real pity after the work you put in getting there!
To get your image up there (or indeed change the one you have) then you will need to access the “Edit Profile” page within your own account. There, at the top of your profile you will find the ‘edit’ link just underneath the photo which will take you through to the area where you can upload a new image.
Hopefully, as you have seen above, it’s seriously important to add this to your profile. With a photo, you’re giving yourself the best possible opportunity to deliver against the goals that you have for your profile, and of course do make sure that the photo itself represents you to best effect.