As we all know, LinkedIn is now one of the most important networks for business people in 2016. In terms of conveying a professional profile to engage with customers, colleagues and industry peers, it is now as important as a website or a twitter feed as a platform to communicate your commercial messaging. But one thing still never ceases to astonish me.
So many of its members' photos simply do not covey them in a professional light.
I am not saying that we all need to be submitting professional studio shots, or be wearing suits or be "on the phone" (that old visual cliche so popular in business portrait photos of the 1980s!).
But should you really be submitting holiday snaps of yourself on the beach? Holding your baby? At a festival? Up a tree? Or posing for a selfie, Kardashian-style, pouting down the lens? Are any of these images really saying – "work with me", "connect with me", "LinkIn with me and lets do business together"?
Overly stylised shots of people looking moodily into the distance can be also be offputting. That's when you can fall into the trap of perhaps seeming to try too hard. Not only does it make the viewer want to cry out "Oi we are over here, not there in the mid distance!" but also they can make the individual look distant and overly posed.
I know that when I am looking at LinkedIn profiles, not only am I checking the calibre of that person's expertise and career experience but I am also looking at their profile to see if they look as though they are someone I could do business with. Not only do I want to know whether they are a leading expert in their field, I also want to know that they take LinkedIn, and business networking generally, seriously as a business professional. The sort of picture that they choose for their profile will always tell me how much importance they place on LinkedIn as a key networking platform.
For me LinkedIn photos that work will have the following elements – the individual will be looking into the lens, look engaging and professional and not be pictured against distracting backgrounds. As much as its great to know that contacts like hang gliding at the week end, in the world of LinkedIn I would rather know that I can initiate a relevant business dialogue with a like-minded potential colleague or client. If I want to see people dressed as penguins I can go to Facebook...
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