3 Reasons Why Your LinkedIn Profile Photo Could Be Hindering Your Career

07/09/2016 09:42 am ET Updated Jul 10, 2016

Some LinkedIn profile photos are a huge buzzkill for job seekers and professionals who don’t realize the true impact of the world’s largest professional network. With seconds to spare for a first impression, and 400+ million users having access to your LinkedIn profile, your photo must captivate the reader with the right idea in mind. Your LinkedIn photo is not an “in” to get a Friday night date or a pitch for selling your best “selfie” angle on the couch. It’s also not an arena to display your relaxed nature sipping on a cappuccino at an outdoor cafe in Paris or displaying parenting life with your adorable newborn. While they may be perfect and captivating fun profile pictures for Facebook, LinkedIn is not the arena for casual.

Today, your LinkedIn profile is synonymous with having an online resume that exists to give you stronger leverage in the business world. Believe it or not, your LinkedIn profile is actually more compelling than your resume. Think about it: your resume is distributed to only a certain number of people (hand-selected by you in a job search), but your LinkedIn profile has the ability to reach millions, and much more quickly.

So, it’s time to apply tough love in asking this question: what message are you trying to get across to your prospective employer or current CEO when the picture posted does not match a professional trajectory?

With LinkedIn literally taking over the way professionals apply for jobs, how they are researched by companies, and how we network today, it is incumbent upon all of us to have a professional image on LinkedIn – not just in the words we write on there, but also in the way we are perceived from the seconds in first impressions.  You simply never know who will search for you on LinkedIn today – recruiters, colleagues, future clients, prospective employers, and even future business contacts. It’s a fact that they are all hanging out on LinkedIn and scoping you out.

Here are 3 reasons why your LinkedIn profile picture could be hindering your job search and career success without you even realizing it:

You’re Using Selfies or Highly Filtered Photos

With filters on Snapchat taking over our Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds (admittedly, I love the Valencia filter on Instagram), your profile picture on LinkedIn needs to take on a different perspective to allure the right audience. Statistics show that 93 percent of recruiters and human resources personnel perform checks on candidates’ social media profiles before extending a job offer. 

What does that mean for you? It means you need to appear confident, career-serious (but still flash a flattering smile), and most importantly, professional. That type of polished image is not conveyed through a selfie, even if it is taken in your uber-organized office. You would be better off having a colleague take a headshot picture of you with your smartphone as opposed to posting a selfie sporting your new Tahari suit.

Additionally, avoid having a highly filtered or edited picture. Showing up to an interview where you look nothing like your LinkedIn picture can draw a great deal of negative attention to you and resonate like a bad date on a misrepresented dating profile.

You’re Not Dressed for Success

Today, more than 70% of jobs are acquired as a result of networking.  LinkedIn gives you great leverage to begin networking from the comfort of your computer screen. Therefore don’t miss out on the great networking opportunities that LinkedIn opens doors for by downplaying your professional picture.

When considering the type of picture to place on LinkedIn, remember to dress for success and the job you want. Due to the wide visibility of your profile, LinkedIn is the premier opportunity and arena for you to establish your personal brand and to convey it with finesse and energy. You wouldn’t show up in casual Friday attire to an important business meeting, an awards ceremony, or other high-powered business event. Therefore, don’t take a chance missing out on a great networking opportunity by having a photo that’s featuring you in a scantily dress or gym attire.

You’re Missing Out on a High Rate of Profile Views

Statistics show that LinkedIn users who have a professional headshot get 14x more views than those without. Based on this statistic alone, I highly recommend making the investment in a professional photography session and acquiring a headshot that enhances your professional stature.

LinkedIn is extraordinarily powerful. It can truly accentuate and accelerate your career potential. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to utilize LinkedIn as the arsenal it is – a job search and networking magnet. Do yourself and your career a favor: upload a profile picture that will sell you strongly in the business world, at first glance and with a lasting impression.

Follow Wendi Weiner on Twitter: twitter.com/writing_guru

Connect with Wendi Weiner on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/thewritingguru 

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS