Is Your LinkedIn Photo (Or Lack Of) Hurting Your Chances?

30767835_sIt’s always surprising to me how many people don’t have a photo on their LinkedIn profile. A lot of people just don’t get around to it. These are generally the folks with the “skeleton” LinkedIn profiles with very little information.

Some people don’t put a photo on their LinkedIn profile because they’re afraid of discrimination. While most of these concerns seem to be related to age discrimination, I’m sure others are afraid of being discriminated against for other reasons.

The thing is that when you don’t have a photo on your LinkedIn profile recruiters and hiring managers wonder why. If they don’t see a photo while doing a LinkedIn search many won’t bother to click on the profile.

Despite being primarily a business networking site, LinkedIn is still considered social media.

That means people who click on your profile want to see a picture of you.

What to Avoid

Some of the profile pictures I’ve seen are rather shocking for what is basically a “business” site. While people expect to get some additional insights into who you are as a person, your Summary section us great for that, they’re primarily viewing you as a potential job candidate.

When a hiring manager finds a picture of you holding a glass of wine, wearing a bikini, or, my personal favorite, wearing a wedding gown on your LinkedIn profile it can be cause for concern. They will probably wonder what type of person thinks it’s OK to post a photo in a bikini on a business site?

Group shots that have been cropped to fit on LinkedIn are also inappropriate. You’ve seen those shots where the person has someone’s arm around his or her shoulder. Although I’ve been seeing more of these, photos of you with your significant other (wife, husband, partner) are not a good idea either.

What to Do                                                                                                                                                               

With few exceptions, the photo on your LinkedIn profile should be of you alone. Headshots with you dressed in appropriate attire for your industry, preferably smiling. So if you work in a casual industry you don’t need a photo of you in a suit and tie.

A professionally done photo is great, but it can be pricy. Don’t wait until you can afford to hire a photographer to post a picture to LinkedIn. Have a friend take a few photos and go with the best one. Like most things on LinkedIn, your photo is easy to replace.

Where to Check

To find out what your photo says about you before you post it to your LinkedIn profile click over to photofeeler where you can get an unbiased opinion. Random viewers on photofeeler judge how competent, likable, and influential you are based on nothing more than your photo. (You can have your photo rated on different qualities, such as attractiveness, for dating sites if you wish.)

Photofeeler is essentially free as you can earn credits to pay for your evaluation by evaluating the If photos of other users. Since strangers will be assessing you based on your photo on LinkedIn, it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what they will think.

So if you don’t have a photo on your LinkedIn profile already make getting one up there a priority. If you don’t have anything suitable on hand, a headshot taken with you in business attire, then have a friend snap a few photos soon.

If you have a photo on LinkedIn now visit photofeeler to see what strangers think of you. Even your best friend may not tell you that your photo looks like a mug shot but a total stranger will think nothing of giving you low scores for credibility.

If you’re worried about discrimination remember you can’t hide from them forever. At some point before you’re hired you’ll most likely be meeting them face-to-face. At the very least you’ll have Skype call.

What’s essential is to post a photo that shows you as your best self. Someone who looks approachable. Someone that other people will want to meet.

Today you need a Background photo as well to keep your LinkedIn profile from looking outdated. Learn more about how to modernize your LinkedIn profile here.