Are you using the right photograph on LinkedIn?

A photograph can be worth a thousand words. This is rarely truer than on LinkedIn. For some candidates, a photo upgrade could be worth a thousand pounds. Find out how testing and investing in your profile image could help you land the right next role.

Countless profiles on LinkedIn are creating poor or underwhelming or first impressions. If you’ve not checked your profile photograph, it’s time to make sure your current image selection isn’t letting you down and costing you by creating the wrong perception among visitors to your profile. In this article, we’ll explore what to check, how to do it and how following some simple tips can help you avoid unwittingly posting problem pictures.

Whether you are making a career move or simply showcasing your skills, nothing creates a faster judgment of your profile than the image you select of yourself.

Fortunately, there’s now a website helping you get an accurate view of how your profile photo is perceived by online viewers. Better still, it’s free. Featured and recommended on Forbes, Fast Company and Time, Photofeeler.com enables you to upload photographs, state your field of work and have other professionals score the impression they gain from your picture. The results position you on a percentile scale for

1) how Competent you are,

2) how Likeable you are and

3) how Influential you are.

Try this with two or three pictures and you quickly understand which of your photo options are creating the right impact. In minutes, you’ll replace subjective judgment with data-backed decision making and take control of your online image.

While you can simply purchase your credits, you could also use a few minutes of your time to vote on other professionals’ photos to earn your credits (they call this building Karma).  Not only will this enable you to get full use of the service completely free of charge, but it’s also fascinating how much you learn and how quickly you learn what works and what lets people down as you vote on others’ pictures.

There’s lots to discover - especially about how others may perceive the same photograph differently than you. Here are our 6 top tips for maximising your results. 

Tip 1: Avoid these profile photo choices

a)  Me as a child. LinkedIn is not Facebook. It’s a professional networking site. This is not the place to show your baby photos.

b)  Me doing sport. Unless you are a sportsperson or Personal Trainer, save your climbing wall and triathlon prowess for Facebook.

c)  Me as a lush. You may enjoy a drink, but unless you’ve just launched a micro-brewery or wine club, you with alcohol is unlikely to be the best first impression.

d)  Me as an anonymous avatar. If you’ve tried online dating, you know that no one trusts the shadowy silhouette and assumes this person has something to hide. LinkedIn is no different. Showing your face builds trust and encourages profile views.

Tip 2: Invest in a session with a professional photographer

These days a quick Google search will reveal headshot and profile photographers near you. Selfies and cropped images from holiday nights out are simply not good enough. For an investment of less than £200, you will be able to select several favourites from a range of high quality images and background options. Few of us love getting our pictures taken, but it’s unlikely you’ll regret this investment in your professional image. You’ll be able to use your new photos in other work scenarios and applications too.

Tip 3: Smile to increase your likeability

Smile and the voters will like you more. Don’t mistake professional with sombre, we all like to work with fun people, so let your personality shine through. Flash a smile for the camera.

Tip 4: Dress-the-part to increase your influence and competence scores

You don’t need model looks to do well. It’s more about looking the part. If those you are on contract with would expect you to be in a suit and tie, that’s what you should wear.

But if you work in a more casual environment, don’t overdress, that will alienate rather than appeal. If you’re using a professional photographer, take the opportunity to show up with different outfits and colours so they can try several options for you. Test them all to find out what creates the best impression.

 

Tip 5: Invest in personal grooming

Taken well, this photo will last you for several years. So do invest in your appearance. Some people invest in haircuts, professional make up and even full image consultant makeovers and the results have been overwhelmingly positive with huge gains in both the scores they achieve and in their personal confidence. 

Tip 6: Consider your backdrop carefully

Don’t underestimate the power of the background to distract. Professional photographers will offer you a range of backdrops, but if you are taking your own shots opt for a solid and neutral background and not something with distracting people or writing which will steal attention from you.

(Just a warning: Have fun, but don’t expect to get much done while you are testing your photos… It’s seriously addictive when the votes start coming in and you’ll be hovering over the refresh icon to get your final score!)

Once you have discovered the highest ranking picture – remember to update your LinkedIn profile as soon as you can. LinkedIn search always appears high up on Google search – so you’ll always be putting your best face forward.