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What Your LinkedIn Photo Says About YOU

Do people really make assumptions about you just from looking at your LinkedIn profile photo?'ve got less than 3-seconds to make a good 1st impression or they’ll likely scroll on to your competitor’s profile.

Most profile photos are processed at the unconscious level. Human nature takes over and ensures we make certain determinations just from what we think we see; it’s a caveman “fight or flight” thing, you just can’t help it.

Research from Princeton suggests that people are prone to make a wide array of assumptions when viewing photos - from ethnicity to sexuality and just about everything in between...including criminality.

I did a cursory trawl of profile photos on LinkedIn before writing this post and came across the following examples of less-than-best practice:

1. Older chap with a big smile and (presumably) granddaughter’s legs draped over his shoulders (this is not FaceBook). also, can’t see his eyes due to the sunglasses.

2. Younger man in shorts, t-shirt and sunnies about to board a private jet with similarly attired mates, probably his stag “do.” (again, this is not FaceBook)

3. Bikini, hot-pants or speedo-clad individuals (this is not Tinder, though I do wonder).

4. Company logo or a Pet instead of a photo – you’re hiding, we need to see who you are!

5. Worst of all – no photo. Nothing at all. Just that anonymous grey silhouette that LinkedIn defaults to. If you don’t care enough about your online image, then why should we care about it for you?

Fact: Your LinkedIn Profile is 14 x more likely to be viewed if you have a photo.

Now Ask Yourself These Questions:

· Is your current profile photo current?

· Would we recognise you in reception or a socially-distanced coffee shop?

What might you inadvertently cause people to think when they actually meet you and discover your photo – which they’ve already made some degree of buying judgment on (back to that caveman thing) – was actually taken years ago?

If you are lacking confidence in the ageing process, what else are you lacking and, if I’m going to hire you, will your lack of confidence cost me?

I know ageing can be harder for some people than for others but, to some extent, there is a misrepresentation issue going on, which could lead to a lack of trust – in which case you’ve lost before you started.

At the very minimum, an out of date photo of you raises questions about you in reception or that coffee shop just when you need people to feel positive about you.

Your Profile Photo confirms who you really are, so make sure it’s the best one possible!
  • Check Is your LinkedIn profile image of you:

  • In your wedding gear?

  • In a park with the children (or grandchildren)?

  • Or maybe from that time when you white-water rafted down the Orinoco – full of pride and excitement maybe…but relevant for LinkedIn?

Come on!

These are the 3 main features your LinkedIn photo needs to incorporate:

1. A clear view of your face from the chest upwards, in-focus, not too much on show

2. Smile or hint of a smile; not a scowl, nor full-blown hysteria

3. Normal business attire – what you’d normally wear for work (unless you actually are a speedo/bikini model)


if you don’t have time to schedule a photography session, have someone take your photo for you. Most smartphone cameras are good enough to do the job these days. Make sure it’s decent lighting and there’s nothing distracting in the background and you should be good to go

Top Tip

Choose a photo where it appears your eyes are looking to the right of the screen.

Most people (80%+) will be looking at your photo on LinkedIn's mobile app, so it’ll appear that you’re looking from left to right. It makes the reader read all those words in that area of the page - very smart!

In short, your LinkedIn Profile photo needs to be:

  • In focus

  • Good light

  • Hint of Smile

  • Authentically you

For more sales hints, tips and learning opportunities, why not visit our events page?

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