A picture says a thousand words. But when it comes to your LinkedIn profile picture, sometimes those words are, "Nope, not connecting with that guy." Oh, how much we love, "That Guy".
If you think the profile picture of you holding a drink in one hand, while twirling your car keys in the other, shows how "cool" you are, you're very much mistaken. Unfortunately, mishaps like this can be detrimental to your career and will do anything but make the person click "Accept".
See also: What is Proper LinkedIn Etiquette
The truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover on LinkedIn. Is this wrong? Well, in real life, yes, but not on LinkedIn. After all, strangers are asking for admission into your professional inner circle and you are certainly allowed to be picky. The last thing you want is to be misrepresenting yourself (or worse, not be taken seriously) because you made a bad call on your profile picture, so, let's give your LinkedIn profile picture a makeover with these three easy tips:
Tip #1: Meet Your Industry's Standards
People who work in finance have a vastly different look from people who work in the music industry. So if you're an accountant, why would you use a photo where you look like you just stepped off the set of a Katy Perry music video?
No matter your profession (lawyer, artist, architect, or even a dancer) you have to look the part. How can anyone take you seriously if you don't take the time to represent yourself as a serious professional? Your photo should reflect the industry standards of your field. A good rule of thumb is to choose a photo where you look like someone at the highest level in your industry.
Tip #2: No Props
One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is when they bring props into the photo to show off their "personality."
For example: a glass of wine, a cigar, a fancy car in the background, or any other item. It takes focus away from you and makes it look like you're trying too hard. If you're going for the appearance of "sophistication" or "accomplishment," you can make that clear by crafting a solid description of your qualifications and resume...not a picture of you with a bottle of Dom Perignon in some VIP section at a Vegas nightclub. That doesn't say "success" - it screams desperation. So, even though you think that selfie of you and Hulk Hogan at the airport is awesome, I recommend saving it for a conversation piece, and not a profile picture.
Tip #3: Ditch the Photoshop
The traditional path for connecting with someone on LinkedIn goes like this: You send a request, you chat online, you meet in person, you make a business deal. Boom!
But what happens when you finally meet someone you've been communicating with on LinkedIn and they look nothing like their profile photo? The first thing you will inevitably think is, "I can't trust this person."
Whether it's "creatively tweaking" your age, your size, or your hairline, people will not trust someone who lies in their photo. It shows insecurity. Always use a current, clean, Photoshop-free profile picture. People want the real you and can read through phony attempts.
So, what do you think?
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my #1 BEST SELLING book, Reply All...And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!