One of the early and most interesting discussions on the LinkedIn group was about the use of a photo on LinkedIn and what that photo said about you. Now, I will tell you that I have always had a photo there. Because I think it is a vital way to introduce yourself to the business world. And to remind people (you worked with ten years ago) who you are . . .
So I tried to think about some reasons why, in this modern age, people would leave a photo off of their profile. Are you saying any of these things?
1. I am a private person. I don’t like sharing my personal data with people. I just don’t. Especially complete strangers.
2. I don’t take good pictures. Really, I don’t. So I’d rather have no picture than give people a poor first impression.
3. I am worried about some kind of employer bias. Worried that someone will decide not to contact me because of who I am. Based on my age, skin color, gender, etc.
4. I don’t want to be recognized. No, I’m not in a witness protection program. I just feel like I lose control when someone else knows me before I know them.
5. A good picture will cost money. I’ll have to hire a photographer. And I really don’t want to spend money on something like this . . .
6. I’m on Facebook. And the people that I know and trust can see me there. Everyone else can do without.
7. I don’t know how to upload a picture. Sorry, but I’m not good at this technology stuff. And I keep forgetting to ask for help.
8. I want people to know me based on my accomplishments not my “looks”. I’m worried people will get the wrong impression about me.
9. I don’t know whether I should be smiling or serious. I put off taking a picture until I figure this part out.
10. I don’t know why. It just feels wrong. I can’t explain it.
Whatever your reason, I’m going to tell you that it is not a good one. Because we all evaluate each other in this world. We expect to get enough data to do so from the very beginning or else we make assumptions. And I’d rather my information be out there from the start.
How do you begin to build a personal brand without a photo? One that visually stimulates the eyes of your visitor and burns that important first impression.
And while I see how each of the above reasons can seem like a logical reason to hold back, I’m saying that doing so will hamper your networking. There is a trust factor here. People wonder “why no photo?”
Because having a photo. One that represents you well. Well, it helps:
- Helps people find you at the next networking event. And you want to be found.
- Helps create a positive impression of you. Assuming you choose a professional and smiling photo.
- Helps people trust you. And gives people comfort when they think about accepting your connection request.
So if you are holding back on adding a photo to LinkedIn. If one of the reasons above is keeping you from maximizing your profile’s reach and impact, decide today. Decide to add a good photo. And if you are unsure about your photo, send it to me. tim(at)spinstrategy.com
. . . and I’ll tell you what I think.
Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Tags: LinkedIn | personal brand | photo | picture | profile | Social Networking
Categories: Learning And Using Social Media