Dear StopSign, My LI Photo is a few years old. How often should I update it?
Mr. StopSign last updated his LI headshot in 2019 (two years ago).
The one I was using showed me wearing a suit coat and tie. Nice smile; very professional. It was from 2010.
And in 2019 people were telling me, “You don’t quite look like that anymore.”
So, I could cheat here and say “once a decade should do it.”
But, is it really that simple? After all, people age differently, and there are several factors that make for a good LI headshot.
Instead of suggesting a set number of years, I offer three rules for your picture:
1. Choose a photo that looks like you.
2. Choose the right expression.
3. Be professional
#1: Does the photo look like you?
In my work, I've met many people whose LI photo presents a head of vivid color (blonde, brunette, redhead, etc.), but, the person in front of me had a head of grey or white hair. They broke rule #1 and used a picture that no longer looked like them, because they thought recruiters and employers want to see a youthful, vibrant appearance.
Stop doing that!
If that theory is correct, why not show them something from waaaay back (see above).
But, of course, that theory is wrong. Imagine their reaction when they see you on camera or in person!
A lie is no way to begin a relationship.
#2: Are you smiling?
Some people think serious = professional, but studies show our picture should depict us as warm and inviting and collegial. Think about the headshots you’ve see in which the person appears professional, but looks unfriendly or even morose.
Is your reaction that you would really want to work with them? Probably not.
Employers prefer to hire happy people who get along with colleagues and customers. So, choose a photo in which you are smiling (Notice how in the sombrero shot I’m smiling with customers.)
Which brings us to rule #3: Be professional.
While you may be tempted to choose a group/party picture in which you are smiling--Don’t do that! You are better off smiling alone in the picture and dressing appropriately for your industry.
According to LinkedIn, a great, enticing photo can make you 11 times more likely to be selected by hiring managers and recruiters.
Sounds great, but how do you know that the photo you’re thinking of using is a great, enticing shot?
Simple---ask other people. Ask a lot of people.
And the easiest way I know of to ask a lot of people is to use the internet. One place I recommend for feedback is “photofeeler.com.”
Photofeeler allows you to upload a photo and wait for reaction-clicks and comments from others. It summarizes the reactions and notes for easy viewing.
Here’s an example showing the internet reaction to two photos I uploaded to replace my 2010 photo.
You can see how after 24 votes I realized I should not use the photo on the right.
Here’s a second example: Four photos and reactions that my colleague Melody has allowed me to share with you.
So, how often should your update LI profile?
The brief answer is: Stop using a photo that doesn’t look like you or doesn’t elicit a positive reaction from others.
Ed Lawrence is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), National Certified Online Profile Expert (NCOPE), and is certified in DISC, MBTI, and Skillscan. He has volunteered with the ICT for seven years. Learn more about him at www.linkedin.com/in/Getstart_ed.
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