Being in the staffing industry, our Tampa and Orlando recruiting teams are on LinkedIn quite a bit, connecting with hiring managers and candidates. LinkedIn is a great tool for making new connections and expanding your professional network. That's what I want to touch base on here today, the word "professional" and how it fits into your LinkedIn profile, specifically your profile picture.
Having spent a lot of time on LinkedIn, our recruiting teams have seen a lot of LinkedIn picture errors. When choosing a picture, it is very important that the picture fits into the overall feel of how you want to be portrayed professionally. Let's take mine for example (and do not take this as a ploy for me to attract more LinkedIn connections...although you can if you want. I leave that up to you.)
This picture is of me at a friend's wedding a few years ago, with my wife conveniently cropped out of the picture. Word to the wise, if using a picture that includes other people, make sure you crop them out altogether. The last thing you need is some random cheek or chin in the corner of your picture.
Although a professional headshot is preferred, the background on this picture is not distracting. I'm dressed professionaly and am wearing a friendly, non-threatening expression. All this ties in with the summary I have given myself. The picture and the summary make a nice pair.
Now, let's look at another picture of me that tells a terribly different story (the picture used as the header to this blog post). One of our recruiters encounterd a picture very similar to this recently. Regardless of how much your summary plays up your accomplishments and your character, if your photo is not professional, people who review your profile will skip the finely crafted summary you have given yourself and make their own assumptions. As in the case below, I may very well be a "highly motivated, goal-oriented and resourceful professional" but my photo says I'm consumed by leveling up on Candy Crush and I don't own a pair of reasonable dress shoes.
Like your resume, your LinkedIn profile tells a story. Make sure it is the story you want by choosing a professional profile picture.