Thursday, May 17, 2012

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About You?

Every day I look for new people to connect with on Linked In. I have been doing a decent job of it. In the past year I grew from 300 connections to 3,500. In the process of seeking out people to befriend I always notice the look of their photos -- or the lack of one. What pops up often makes a statement, some intended, some not.

A few people use black and white photos, which I think is a nice touch. Others use an illustration or cartoon. I always think those people are hiding something. Of course those who still are too lazy, too self-conscious, or too wanted by the police to post a photo always creep me out, but I have learned to accept it. Many photos have thought put into them -- they have a good background, they might have an accessory such as a hat, or they are wearing an outfit that gets your attention but is not too casual nor too professional. Some pose with a pet or child. Save that for Facebook, where people are more social and showy about their personal lives.

Of course, some photos seem to give off the wrong message. If you are not smiling you look mean or sad. If you are wearing an outfit that seems to be sexually suggestive one has to wonder about your judgment. Additionally, some photos look like they are yellowing out of a scrapbook -- what is the point in using a photo that is obviously 15 years old?

I guess you can tell a lot from a photo. Certainly you can see if they are a man or a woman (sometimes the name does not reveal that). You can tell their ethnicity, to a degree. You can also guess one's age as well. You cannot necessarily tell if they are smart, but sometimes glasses give the appearance of brains.

But the key here is that Linked In is not a dating site and so we shouldn't look at people's photos and make connections based on one's looks, except that to some degree, we do. What counts on Linked In is one's position in the world and the connections that they can introduce you too, but all things being equal, I wonder how we might be influenced by these photos -- or lack thereof. If I am wondering this -- and you are too -- then it's time to reconsider your photo on this site. Add one if you haven't; update or revise it if you can.

What do you want your photo to say about you?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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