Most people put their picture on their LinkedIn account but some people do not. There are several reasons why people do not put their pictures on their account: privacy concerns, concern that their picture will make them less desirable, they do not have a good picture, they just have not gotten around to it, they are not that interested in their LinkedIn profile.
If you are looking for a job, you need to put your picture on LinkedIn. It makes you more credible to a recruiter. People hire people and they want to see you. Contacts you make will be able to put name and face together to trigger their memory. It is just off-putting to not have your image on LinkedIn.
Sometimes you see people use an image that is not them. Maybe it is an image of a race car or flower or geometric design or their logo. Use a photo of your face. See previous paragraph.
Make it a decent photo. Not a camera phone photograph, blurry, monochrome, in low light. Recruiters want to see you. A bad photo defeats the purpose of putting a photo on LinkedIn and it makes you look lazy or like you are not at all tech savvy.
Make it a photo of your face. If you display a full length image of yourself or a photo from the waist up, I really can not tell what you look like. Some people criticize my photo because I cropped the top of my head and my chin. I wanted a close up….and I got it close. Works for me.
Make it distinctive. If your photo is a professional business photo in a suit with a photo studio background or (even worse) one of the dark, blurry, low light camera phone photographs, you are not memorable. If I see your photo two or three times, I am not going to remember you unless the image is distinctive. Put some color in the background. I use a photo with some red and green behind me on one side with some diagonal lines and simply black on the other side. It stands out.
Use the same photo over and over. Use it on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on Facebook, on your blog, etc. I want people to easily connect the James Snider they saw on Twitter or on a blog with the guy they saw on LinkedIn and not that James Snider who sells insurance in Cincinnati. Make yourself more memorable by using the same photograph everywhere you are building your digital footprint. I will say more about your “digital footprint” in a future blog. I violate this principle myself. I use a different photograph on Facebook and MySpace than I do on LinkedIn, Twitter, and my blogs.
Use a photo that is not over 5 years old. You really don’t want someone expecting a 30 something when they meet you only to see a 50 something walking towards them. They will feel deceived. Once again, I violate this. My LinkedIn photograph is 7 years old. My Facebook photograph is 4 years old. Once I get a current photograph that I like, I will fix that.
You will sometimes see the photograph called an avatar or gravatar. This is an icon to represent yourself. In this case, your photograph. This is like your logo as a job seeker. You need to make it distinctive, clear, and appealing and use it consistently.