“I don’t have a suitable photo.”
“People will be prejudiced against me once they see my color/my age/my weight.”
These are just a few of the excuses I hear for not having a photo. It is essential that you have a photo on LinkedIn for many reasons.
- Many people will not accept invitations to link with you if there’s no photo.
- People who may not recognize your name but will know you if they see a photo.
- There may be many people with your name and it may make it hard for people to find you.
- A photo is inviting and encourages people to engage with you.
If I’m talking with someone on the phone, I will most often look at their LI photo while we’re talking. It makes me feel more like I’m really talking to them in person, brings warmth and a smile into my voice and helps me to feel l’m getting to know them better. Social media, including LinkedIn, is best when used to deepen relationships – it’s not an excuse to avoid relationships.
If they’re going to be prejudiced by seeing your photo, why not get that over with rather than wait until you meet in person. The photo is not for YOU. It’s about other people and giving them a chance to know you.
Yes, a nice professional headshot is best but if you wait until you have one, your profile may be missing a photo for a long time. With rare exceptions, it’s better to have some kind of photo there than none. A reasonable snapshot taken by a friend will work. Crop a photo of you from a group shot. Make sure it’s in focus and crop it closely enough to get rid of glimpses of other people’s arms or items in the background that aren’t appropriate (bottles of alcohol, etc.)
Make sure the photo fills the full frame of the spot for it on your profile. LinkedIn changed their format to a larger format of photo a couple of years ago and nothing broadcasts that you haven’t updated your profile in a long time than the tiny postage-stamp photo.
Your LinkedIn photo should look enough like you that someone meeting you for the first time would recognize you from your photo. Use a color photo. There are exceptions when an “arty” photo would be appropriate – a photographer or designer perhaps – but those exceptions are rare enough that I’m not going to talk further about them here.
One, two, three – SMILE! I look forward to meeting you.