My LinkedIn Profile: Should I Include My Photo?

My-LinkedIn-Profile-Should-I-Include-My-Photo-V1

There has been some heated discussion this morning on a LinkedIn Group Discussion Forum that I belong to concerning this topic of displaying your profile picture (I hope you’ve also been maximizing your LinkedIn Group membership!).  One of the Group members attended a LinkedIn seminar where the presenter said that those in transition should NOT include their picture as part of their profile, the reason being that it would be an Equal Opportunity violation if a recruiter selects you after seeing what you look like.   Furthermore, the presenter went on to say that most recruiters actually restrict their search to candidates that don’t have photos.

For those of you in transition who may be reading this blog, let me start out by saying that first of all I am not nor have ever been a recruiter.  But I have used LinkedIn while in transition and have taken similar seminars as well as attended webinars put on by recruiters and career coaches.  One thing I can say with confidence is that just as every career coach or  resume writer will give you a different spin on how your resume should be written, there will be many divergent opinions as to how to utilize LinkedIn.

My own idea about displaying a photo in your profile, which is the same as my advice in giving and receiving LinkedIn recommendations, is that they show that you are real.  There are many fake profiles out there, and anyone can say that they worked at a company and put it on their profile.  The photo shows that you are authentic, and the recommendations should back up what you say about yourself and you career history.  It’s as simple as that.  After all, LinkedIn will prompt you to upload a photo in order to get to 100% profile completeness, and considering that LinkedIn’s main customers are recruiters, don’t you think that they would request LinkedIn to disable the feature if it could create that big of a problem?

I have been contacted by recruiters on LinkedIn on several occasions over the last year for potential positions which proves the theory wrong, unless these recruiters were not being “careful”. Did you know if you google someone’s name, and they had added their photo to their Google Profile, that the photo will show up in the search results? Does that automatically disqualify this candidate? I tend not to think so… (you can google my name and see an example of this at the bottom of the search results page)

Now I could be wrong since I am not in the field of HR, so it would be great to get a lot of recruiter’s opinions on the subject.  Please feel free to comment and give us all more insight!

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

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Comments

  1. wfeigenson says

    Neal, I have done personal branding to many HR people, and two different HR Executive Networking groups, and nobody has ever said they would reject a profile with a picture. I just don’t believe that’s true. We all know there are restrictions about sending pictures with resumes, but if somebody is researching you, there is no way to avoid the potential to find your picture during the search. It just doesn’t make sense.

    There are two primary reasons i recommend leaving pictures: 1) so people you network with will be more likely to remember you, and 2) incomplete LinkedIn profiles are MUCH less likely to be found by sourcers and hiring managers. I read somewhere that you are 40 times more likely to be found if you have a complete profile.

    Please, please don’t listen to one person who says not to use pictures. If you’re looking for work, don’t limit the chance that you’ll be found! And help those who would, through networking, help you find your next job.

  2. wfeigenson says

    Neal, I have done personal branding to many HR people, and two different HR Executive Networking groups, and nobody has ever said they would reject a profile with a picture. I just don’t believe that’s true. We all know there are restrictions about sending pictures with resumes, but if somebody is researching you, there is no way to avoid the potential to find your picture during the search. It just doesn’t make sense.

    There are two primary reasons i recommend leaving pictures: 1) so people you network with will be more likely to remember you, and 2) incomplete LinkedIn profiles are MUCH less likely to be found by sourcers and hiring managers. I read somewhere that you are 40 times more likely to be found if you have a complete profile.

    Please, please don’t listen to one person who says not to use pictures. If you’re looking for work, don’t limit the chance that you’ll be found! And help those who would, through networking, help you find your next job.

  3. Neal Schaffer says

    This is absolutely fantastic advice! Thank you for helping set the record straight and give confidence for us to tell the so-called “experts” that they are wrong! That was the point I was trying to make about Google Profiles as well in that with Social Media and everyone’s adoption of it, it really is getting impossible to avoid looking at someones’s picture. Looking forward to seeing your comments again in the future!

  4. says

    Sounds ridiculous to me! I would recommend using a professional looking photograph but other than that…definitely would us a photo if you comfortable with it.

  5. says

    Sounds ridiculous to me! I would recommend using a professional looking photograph but other than that…definitely would us a photo if you comfortable with it.

  6. Kristen says

    If what they said were true, that photos influence hiring decisions, wouldn’t an in-person interview carry the same risk? Gotta draw the line somewhere.

  7. Kristen says

    If what they said were true, that photos influence hiring decisions, wouldn’t an in-person interview carry the same risk? Gotta draw the line somewhere.

  8. says

    Although you have to agree with “how can anyone avoid seeing photos?” I do know that some companies are stuck in the policy of avoiding sites that have them because of perceived risk of non compliance. ‘Especially true of those with governement contracts BTW.

  9. says

    Although you have to agree with “how can anyone avoid seeing photos?” I do know that some companies are stuck in the policy of avoiding sites that have them because of perceived risk of non compliance. ‘Especially true of those with governement contracts BTW.

  10. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Dorothy and thank you for your comment. I sincerely appreciate your providing us a different perspective in that there are some companies that are still stuck in pre-social media times. It especially makes sense that those with government contracts operate in this way. That being said, if these companies are avoiding LinkedIn altogether, it won’t hurt to have your photo up because they won’t be looking at it anyway, right?

  11. says

    Neal,
    I have sat on both sides of the fence in terms of recruiting. When I was in the HR seat I wish I knew what I know now about LinkedIn and its power. You are right on posting a photo to help legitimize recommendations and make it “real”. Quality of Photo is key. I see nature photos ( not bad, tells me about what they might enjoy). But the latest .jpg of your night out with the boys. A photo is just another part of having a complete profile. BTW..Like the blog..you have inspired me, hope there is room at table for another that has the same interest and fire with this great venue for networking.

  12. says

    Neal,
    I have sat on both sides of the fence in terms of recruiting. When I was in the HR seat I wish I knew what I know now about LinkedIn and its power. You are right on posting a photo to help legitimize recommendations and make it “real”. Quality of Photo is key. I see nature photos ( not bad, tells me about what they might enjoy). But the latest .jpg of your night out with the boys. A photo is just another part of having a complete profile. BTW..Like the blog..you have inspired me, hope there is room at table for another that has the same interest and fire with this great venue for networking.

  13. Neal Schaffer says

    Steven,
    Thanks for your comment and appreciate your input on the subject. You have truly proven that a photo, and a good one, is a necessity for your profile. From another perspective, even as an open networker, I am beginning to be suspicious of those people on LinkedIn who don’t show themselves. After all, this is a “social” site, so what are these people hiding from? Anyways, thanks again, and there is always room at the table for you, my new friend!

  14. says

    Neal,
    Thanks, you said it perfectly. Why wouldn’t you put a photo up. I was often told that I did not fit the typical HR mold and that is okay, I try to think way outside the box…I had have clients say ”
    I don’t want to put up a photo because then I will be discriminated against”. Yes there may be some truth to that, I say popeycock!!! Your photo is more branding, someone said it as well, we remember a face more often than we remember a name..PUT UP A PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!! have a great LinkedIn Day and Link away!!!!

  15. says

    Neal,
    Thanks, you said it perfectly. Why wouldn’t you put a photo up. I was often told that I did not fit the typical HR mold and that is okay, I try to think way outside the box…I had have clients say ”
    I don’t want to put up a photo because then I will be discriminated against”. Yes there may be some truth to that, I say popeycock!!! Your photo is more branding, someone said it as well, we remember a face more often than we remember a name..PUT UP A PHOTO!!!!!!!!!!! have a great LinkedIn Day and Link away!!!!

  16. Neal Schaffer says

    Steven,
    You said it right there: your photo is more branding. If you are in transition, you need to look at whatever you do on any social networking site as a branding exercise, pure and simple. So your choice of not putting a photo up says a lot about you in a potentially negative way. Sometimes it’s the things that you don’t do that can work against you.
    - Neal

  17. Ellen Bartkowiak says

    A picture is worth a thousand words…or hopefully…a thousand connections. If you fear posting your photo because of discrimination, identity theft or lack of a good photographer; it’s time to move into the 20th century and complete your Profile.

    I view people who don’t have a picture as someone who is a germaphobe and does not like to shake hands. You’d never walk into a networking function and deny someone’s hand if they offer a handshake??? The same holds true for your photo on your Profile; it’s as if you’re looking someone in the eye and offering your hand and saying; ‘Welcome to my Profile. It’s nice to meet you…’

    -Ellen Bartkowiak
    Career Coach for MBA Students
    UW-Madison

  18. Ellen Bartkowiak says

    A picture is worth a thousand words…or hopefully…a thousand connections. If you fear posting your photo because of discrimination, identity theft or lack of a good photographer; it’s time to move into the 20th century and complete your Profile.

    I view people who don’t have a picture as someone who is a germaphobe and does not like to shake hands. You’d never walk into a networking function and deny someone’s hand if they offer a handshake??? The same holds true for your photo on your Profile; it’s as if you’re looking someone in the eye and offering your hand and saying; ‘Welcome to my Profile. It’s nice to meet you…’

    -Ellen Bartkowiak
    Career Coach for MBA Students
    UW-Madison

  19. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Ellen and thank you for your comment. That is an excellent way of looking at it: “Your Picture = Your Virtual Handshake”. Your MBA students are lucky to have such a great career coach!

  20. says

    Along the same lines, I’ve heard that it also makes sense to try and use the same photo for all of your social networks/blogs. It not only helps verify that you’re “real” but it helps you build your “brand”.

  21. says

    Along the same lines, I’ve heard that it also makes sense to try and use the same photo for all of your social networks/blogs. It not only helps verify that you’re “real” but it helps you build your “brand”.

  22. Jess90069 says

    If someone wants to add a fake picture to a profile on any social media, then can do that. That sort of person is probably never going to actually meet anyone in person, they are just playing some sort of sick game in their head and are time wasters.  This is especially true on ‘personal’ websites where people are just out to meet other people! Linkedin is NOT immune to these charlatans!  Many professional websites to which I subscribe I still get garbage from people. Just because a person posts a  picture does not mean that picture is true, and current, and not photoshopped!  There are MANY photographic services that take pictures to make people appear different than they really are in person. 

  23. JYT says

    No you shouldn’t post your photo anywhere online. First of all, just because you see someone’s photo it doesn’t autromatically mean it’s real. Second, why someone is looking at your photo and what someone can do with your photo is beyond imagination. I think the potential negatives out-weigh the benefits. Do really good work and others will pay you for it, regardless of what you look like.

    • says

      Thanks for offering your point of view. I think if you don’t want to post your photo online, perhaps social media is not the right venue to be on. It all comes down to your objective – and if you don’t have one, social media cannot only be a waste of time but could also bring potential harm as you suggest.

  24. Neal Schaffer says

    This is absolutely fantastic advice! Thank you for helping set the record straight and give confidence for us to tell the so-called “experts” that they are wrong! That was the point I was trying to make about Google Profiles as well in that with Social Media and everyone’s adoption of it, it really is getting impossible to avoid looking at someones’s picture. Looking forward to seeing your comments again in the future!

  25. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Dorothy and thank you for your comment. I sincerely appreciate your providing us a different perspective in that there are some companies that are still stuck in pre-social media times. It especially makes sense that those with government contracts operate in this way. That being said, if these companies are avoiding LinkedIn altogether, it won’t hurt to have your photo up because they won’t be looking at it anyway, right?

  26. Neal Schaffer says

    Steven,
    Thanks for your comment and appreciate your input on the subject. You have truly proven that a photo, and a good one, is a necessity for your profile. From another perspective, even as an open networker, I am beginning to be suspicious of those people on LinkedIn who don’t show themselves. After all, this is a “social” site, so what are these people hiding from? Anyways, thanks again, and there is always room at the table for you, my new friend!

  27. Neal Schaffer says

    Steven,
    You said it right there: your photo is more branding. If you are in transition, you need to look at whatever you do on any social networking site as a branding exercise, pure and simple. So your choice of not putting a photo up says a lot about you in a potentially negative way. Sometimes it’s the things that you don’t do that can work against you.
    - Neal

  28. Neal Schaffer says

    Hi Ellen and thank you for your comment. That is an excellent way of looking at it: “Your Picture = Your Virtual Handshake”. Your MBA students are lucky to have such a great career coach!

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