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My team and I spend a lot of time working in LinkedIn, helping clients optimize how they position themselves to get what they want professionally.

AND, I’m always surprised by the opportunity people miss to bring their best foot forward on that platform: their photo.

Many people either don’t want to put a photo up or they put one up that isn’t doing them any favors.

If you don’t have a photo on LinkedIn, you might as well not have a profile.

When people view your profile and there is no photo, it appears that you are not fully committed, not energetically available, and not trustworthy….it can give the impression that you are hiding something.

If you DO have a photo, but it does not show your sparkle, it is working against you.

What do I mean by sparkle?

Your sparkle is the je ne said quoi element about you; that aliveness that comes into your face when you smile, when you are truly in flow and in your element. We all have a facial expression like that, and it usually appears when we belly laugh.

Instead, many LinkedIn profile photos show the opposite.

For example, many LinkedIn photos show the people:

  • Small in size, sitting or standing far away from the camera
  • Not smiling
  • Overly buttoned-down, with no joy in their eyes
  • Not looking directly at the camera. This makes the person look untrustworthy
  • With arms crossed implying close-mindedness, like the person is not available or open to new opportunities
  • In party mode–perhaps it’s a grainy shot where they cut someone else out of the photo or their eyes are not clear
  • Using a personal photo that has bad lighting or from an unfavorable angle

If any of these traits apply to the photo you are currently using, I suggest you are missing an opportunity and in fact are hurting your chances to be contacted for the job or business opportunity you crave.

In other words, your photo is undermining your success.

If your photo falls short, the good news is that you can change it out easily.

Here are some guidelines:

  • Use a close-up of your face
  • Look directly at the camera
  • Smile with your teeth showing
  • Make sure your eyes are sparkling and featured prominently
  • Pick a photo that makes you smile when you look at it
  • Dress in solid colors, with not a lot of skin showing below the neck

Are you concerned that you don’t have a good-enough photo to use right now?

When I work with my clients who have a sub-standard photo on their LinkedIn profile, they usually have a few others they contemplated using but avoided choosing for one reason or another. AND, when we take a look at those other choices, there is almost always a better one than they are currently using and we have them swap it out.

LinkedIn photos are like everything else related to our professional brand–they are a work in progress.

Pick the best photo you have now on-hand – getting help from a friend or colleague if you need it to make the best choice – and then find an opportunity to get a new photo taken and swap it out.

We often are self-conscious about seeing ourselves in photos. If having your photo out there makes you feel nervous or overexposed, consider this:

We all ultimately want to be of service and make the contribution that we are here to make. Your photo on LinkedIn allows others to connect with you, build trust and connection and ultimately recognize their need in what you bring to the table. Imagine your photo literally opening the door for the opportunity to bring your unique gifts to serve a larger cause that makes your life feel truly well-lived.

Your photo – along with your well-written LinkedIn profile – is one concrete way that you welcome that opportunity into your life.

If you are not sure that your LinkedIn photo is truly working for you, and are local to the Bay Area, consider having a headshot taken by my in-house professional photographer.

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