7 Things I Think If You Don't Have a Profile Photo

I have a colleague…

He’s on LinkedIn but did not to include a photo on his profile.

He has his reasons, but in my view, none of them are truly convincing.

His career goals are ambitious but realistic, his credentials are solid and in other ways he's building a strong network. And yet, in this one area of professional advancement he just won't budge. I wish he realized what omitting a photo from LinkedIn could potentially be communicating to prospective employers and clients, unbeknownst to him.

Here are the 7 things I think when someone has no LinkedIn profile photo.

  1. This person is a true technophobe. They don't own a phone with a camera, and they don't know anyone else who has one. They probably live off the land, foraging for berries and honey. (Not a bad life, but not an easy way to advance your career.)

  2. This LinkedIn member started to create an account, then saw something shiny in the distance. They are easily distracted and rarely finish what they begin. They are hard to manage and... Is that a squirrel? *dashes off*

  3. The individual is afraid of being recognized by a secret agent/law enforcement/mafioso kingpin. They may be the anonymous informant for Mulder on the X Files. They may be on the run from the law. Whatever the reason, they do NOT want to be found. The dog barks at midnight. You know what to do.

  4. The person has a severe case of fotografizophobia, or fear of having your picture taken. (If you don't like how you look in photos, that doesn't count as a phobia. if you have a true phobia complete with panic attacks and severe, unrelenting anxiety, I give you a pass; that must be tough in this day and age.)

  5. The person is so concerned about privacy and identity theft, they wear a hooded monk's robe everywhere they go and wear a latex mask to get their driver's license photo taken. They are convinced Big Brother will soon insert a microchip into each person on the planet. They encrypt their emails in secret code, which makes them rather difficult to work with.

  6. This person is Batman. Really. Their LinkedIn summary simply says, "I'm Batman."

Ordinary Batman Adventures © Sarah Johnson, http://sarahj-art.tumblr.com

Ordinary Batman Adventures © Sarah Johnson, http://sarahj-art.tumblr.com

7. The person thinks that LinkedIn is only used by big shot mogul types who want to schmooze and brag about their latest multi-million dollar business deal. They obviously haven't seen the thoughtful, generous networking happening on the platform that I see every day! When used authentically, LinkedIn is a powerful tool for genuine connections.

Hopefully I've convinced you that adding a photo to your LinkedIn page is a good idea! Here are a few more tips on LinkedIn photos:

  • Profiles with photos get 21 times more views than those with no photo. (Source: LinkedIn)

  • A picture that includes head and shoulders is seen as more "likeable" than one zoomed in to include only the face. (Source: Photofeeler)

  • If you want to encourage employers to check you out on other social media platforms like Twitter, use the same photo for all your profiles. (Obviously, the reverse is true if you don't want folks to make the connection to your other social media accounts.)

  • Your photo doesn't have to be taken by a professional photographer to look professional. Leave family, friends and pets out of the picture. Choose a neutral background and smile directly at the camera, and you're all set!

Whatever your reasons for not having a photo on LinkedIn...

Potential employers, clients, and collaborators will probably draw the wrong conclusion about you - simply because you decided to omit that vital part from your profile.

Give it some thought and decide if that's what you really want!

LinkedIn is a powerful tool.

Check out my online course and learn to Leverage LinkedIn.

The course includes 8 easy-to-digest videos totaling more than 30 minutes. Videos are captioned and have accompanying transcripts. Also included are 3 tip sheets that cover the basics of LinkedIn, 4 articles that dive deeper to focus on particular aspects of the platform, and a slide deck to walk you through the strategy I share with clients when they want to learn how to make the most of LinkedIn.

It's more than a "how-to" course.

It's a way of looking at networking strategically.

It's a different way of looking at how and why you value your professional relationships.

If you are considering a career transition and would benefit from speaking with a career coach, contact me! You can sign up for my email list as well, and I'd love it if you followed me on Twitter. Thanks so much!