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Should you have a photo of yourself on your LinkedIn profile?

I recently touched on this subject in my “Do you go networking with a paper bag on your head?” blog, and this is still a question I get asked many times.

It is REALLY critical that you include a photograph of yourself; it is one of the real no no’s on LinkedIn to not have an image.  LinkedIn put a post out a couple of months ago now that you are seven times more likely to have your profile looked at if you have a photograph, so please think carefully about including your photo.

If you’re worried about being seen by too many people LinkedIn will let you tie down who can see it, so for example only the people you are connected to at level one, i.e. those you have invited to connect with you or those you have accepted, i.e. the people you probably already know and hence know what you look like! You can also restrict your image to the three levels of your network or expose your image to all.

As a broad generalisation the best photo of you should be a head and shoulders shot  of you in work clothes, with a normal smile (not a “ take me away I’m a lunatic” smile) and with a plainish background.

If you’re worried about being perceived as too young, too fresh faced and full of youth, then one trick is to stand in front of something older and with character (not a relative!!!) such as an old building or wall as it draws the eye of the viewer and offsets age perception.

Ditto with a mature face, just stand in front of something shiny, new and modern to have the same effect.

So if you do one thing with your LinkedIn profile today, make it adding or updating your photo.