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Should I include a personal picture on my linkedin profile?

I would never consider including one with my CV / Resume, and yet I have one on linkedin (which has only just occurred as slightly contradictory behaviour!).

I've asked a few people I know from varying careers, and some advocate it heavily, and others would never do so (and in fact the majority of people I know do include one).

I know that there are related questions such as this but I couldn't find anything relating specifically to linkedin, which naturally has a slightly different M.O. to traditional CVs

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What is the reason you have a linkedin profile? That is, what's the major use you intend for linkedin in your career? –  Oded Dec 14 '12 at 11:02
    
I have two main reasons for a profile 1) To let employers who I might not approach see me through keyword searches and 2) To make the process of job applications easier (as linkedin has a large number of jobs on it) –  Dibstar Dec 14 '12 at 11:27
    
Do you typically take on jobs/clients where they never get to see you? –  JeffO Dec 17 '12 at 22:05
    
@JeffO - no, but I would invite them to pitch for it! –  Dibstar Dec 18 '12 at 19:04
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6 Answers

up vote 25 down vote accepted

Putting a photo on your profile does a few things:

  • It distinguishes you from other profiles that only have a generic image
  • People who look at your profile will relate to you better, as the profile now has a face
  • When meeting face to face, people may recognize you from your photo
  • It shows that you are who you claim you are
  • People who do know you are more likely to connect with you - they know it is indeed you!

The major reason against it is possible loss of privacy.

You need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself.

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Yes, you should. You are attempting to sell yourself in some sense to recruiters and other people who are only casually interested.

There are many, many examples of retailers finding out that having a human picture increases conversion rates on their websites (meaning more product sold, etc).

For example: in this article customers were 10%-20% more likely to call when presented with a human picture. In web terms, this is a huge increase.

Additionally, a variety of examples indicate that images can increase conversion rate

Medalia Art sells Brazilian and Caribbean art online and using photos of artists on their homepage increased conversions by 95%...

When they replaced the painting with actual photos almost doubled the conversion rate (conversion in this case was clickthrough, not sales)

(this assumes of course you have a professional enough picture... don't put a picture of you at 2:00am after a night at the bars... at least for most professional jobs this probably would be worse)


There is a difference between a resume and a LinkedIn profile, by the way, in that LinkedIn tends to attract unsolicited interest this rarely occurs with a resume. You almost always submit your resume specifically to someone - you are initiating the contact. While with LinkedIn you have the opposite type of interest.

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"You almost always submit your resume specifically to someone - you are initiating the contact." -- I've had a number of potential employers contact me after seeing my resume on Dice or Monster. –  Keith Thompson Dec 14 '12 at 19:34
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To me, LinkedIn is significantly more than a "job seeking" website for posting a CV.

In practice I tend to use it more as the virtual equivalent of a conference (or other networking event), primarily through interaction in the various technical discussion groups within the key fields in which I work/operate.

Many of these discussions emerge continue as face-to-face meetings at conferences, and having an image of the person you are engaging with online helps to initiate this offline relationship.

At a recent major conference I was recognised by several people on the basis of my LinkedIn photograph. These were "lurkers" on discussion groups, who had not contacted me online, but were happy to do so "face to face" and continue the discussion in depth.

These in turn have become useful contacts and even sales leads.

I'd suggest that including a photograph on you LinkedIn and engaging in professional discussions is an excellent way to raise your personal profile within a given industry.

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Like GuyM, for me, LinkedIn is significantly more than a "job seeking" website.

The main reason that I have my photo on there is so when I send a connect request to someone who perhaps I only met briefly at a business meeting or conference, they can put a face to the name and remember who I am. It really annoys me when I get a connect request and think "I have no idea who this guy is" so I don't want to do that to anyone else.

Now if, as you say, your reasons for using LinkedIn are more focused on job seeking, it's not as clear cut. I'd still recommend putting a photo there - a neutral and professional one* - simply because a LinkedIn profile feels a bit "incomplete" if it has that grey silhouette headshot.

LinkedIn grey silhouette headshot

Is that a problem? Probably not. But I know my instinct would be to take a profile less seriously if it looked incomplete.

* i.e. not like my StackExchange avatar with the sword and knitted chainmail

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I would say yes if you are comfortable with that.

This way it at least proves that it IS your linked in profile and that you aren't trying to use someone else's profile who is qualified, to try and get a job with the company. This way you at least have that backup of being able to say no its definitely mine, see the picture and myself are identical.

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When does that come into play? Are there employers who depend on the info in a LinkedIn profile and don't do any verification? –  Monica Cellio Dec 14 '12 at 19:32
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Yes I'd include a picture on your Linkedin profile!

I've been told in several career workshops and by social media experts that I work with that Linkedin gives higher priority in search results for profiles that do have an image attached.

From personal experience, my contact rate via Linkedin has increased dramatically since adding a profile picture.

Make sure to use an appropriate picture. Something that you wouldn't mind providing to your employer to put on their own website for the company directory.

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