According to market research, the average number of LinkedIn connections is 930, but uploading your photo can increase your profile views by 11 times, putting you on the path to building more business relationships.
To get the right kind of photo, you must first get the right app. I don’t mean purchase the correct software application. Instead, remember this acronym, APP, which describes the three criteria every LinkedIn photo should have: Approachability, Properness and Professionalism.
Second, raise your self-awareness, which is critical in business etiquette, and avoid these photo fails:
- The Phantom Ghost: This is the haunting default photo that LinkedIn automatically inserts when no photo is offered. It looks like a ghosted silhouette. I conducted a survey asking what types of people don’t upload a LinkedIn photo. Three responses prevailed: older people who are not tech-savvy; indifferent or lazy users; and users who don’t grasp the importance of having a completed LinkedIn profile.
- The Angry Arm Crosser: People pose with their arms crossed hoping to personify leadership. On the contrary, this body language screams I’m angry, defensive or closed off.
- The Facebook Lovebirds: Your profile page is about you. Save the photos with your devoted partner or beloved pet for Facebook. When you secure the job interview or meet for a networking lunch after making a LinkedIn connection, will you bring your partner along, too? I think not.
- The Creepy Crop: Attempting to crop out other people when your face is the subject matter always looks unprofessional. Cropping often brings in a random body part of another person, such as someone else’s hair, hand or arm. Awkward.
- The Head Tilter: Ladies, when we don’t hold our heads upright during business conversations or for a photo, we aren’t taken as seriously. Avoid the head-tilting crutch.
- The Cool Dude: Remove distracting barriers like sunglasses, which are perfect for the beach but not for business.
- The Fierce and Full-bodied: The real estate that LinkedIn allows for a photo is limited to a tiny square box. Full-bodied shots make you seem less approachable, as opposed to closer head-and-shoulder shots.
- The Drama Dresser: Depending on your industry and position, dress appropriately. Avoid attire that is overly formal or casual.
There is no time like the present to invest in your online presence and upload a professional headshot. Let’s exercise smart “netiquette” and leave the ghosts for Halloween.
Tiffany Adams is president of the Cincinnati Etiquette & Leadership Institute LLC, which provides business etiquette, international protocol, dining etiquette and women’s leadership training. Adams is certified by the Protocol School of Washington. Visit etiquetteplease.com to learn more.