The hardest part of adding your picture to LinkedIn is getting a decent photo to start from! Here are some general guidelines:
- When possible, use a professional picture – remember, over 500,000 recruiters and HR people use LinkedIn, and you want to look good!
- Leave your dog, cat, or koala bear home when you take the picture.
- Nobody cares if you’re a skier – the background of the picture shouldn’t be beautiful, it should sign a non-compete with your face.
- Crop the picture so all we see is your head. We really don’t care how much time you spend on your abs.
OK, we’ve got that out of the way.
You’ll need a digital version of the Vermeer you just created. If you’re not using a digital camera, most photo processing services will make a CD of the pictures they’re printing, so you can use that.
Getting the picture on your computer
Sorry for that teaser, I’m not going to tell you how to do that – it’s too involved for this post.
Getting the picture the right size and cropped properly
There are some wonderful sites on the Internet that will help you with this. Here’s one, called resizr.com. It’s free, and it’s pretty easy to use. You can actually do a surprising amount of photo manipulation without any training.
Your objective is to have a small picture for uploading. Your camera’s picture may seem small, but the digital file can be several megabytes in size (which also means it will take some time to upload to resizr). When you’re finished, you want a cropped picture that’s maybe 400 by 400 pixels. This is larger than LinkedIn will use, but you can use that same photo on all your social networking sites. All these sites have a limitation on how big the original can be, but this size will work everywhere.
When you go to resizr, there’s a link that says: Just want to test it out? Click here for a demo. Here’s what you’ll see:
The slider bar at the top says Big ——Small (you can’t see the whole thing unless you click on the image). Adjust this slider, and you’ll see the picture size change. Get it somewhere near the 400 by 400 setting, then go to the radio buttons next to Crop and select square, which will yield this image:
Notice the black box on the dog’s face. You can move it around by clicking on it and moving your mouse. You can make it bigger or smaller by pulling the white boxes at any corner.
When you’re done, press the link that says Resize my image. Click when done. The next screens you see are all about how this clever developer supports himself – he’d (she’d?) like you to add your email to a contest site. I’ll leave the decision about that to you.
The last step here is easy. You’ll see this screen:
When you click on the link a new browser window will open – it’s got your picture all ready to go. Just right click on the picture, and use the “save as” option in your browser menu to save the digital photograph.
Believe me, it’s much harder to explain than to do!
The LinkedIn part
LinkedIn and other sites on the Internet can use the picture you just saved, and will usually resize it to whatever size they need. LinkedIn also lets you crop the picture, but there’s not as much flexibility as you’ll have in resizr.com.
- First step: edit your profile. Next to the photo placeholder, press the edit button. You’ll get this screen:
Use the browse button to find the file on your computer. Press Upload Photo, and then decide who will be able to see your picture. I strongly recommend “Everyone” because you really want people who know you but haven’t linked to you to get that jolt: “oh, it’s that person…” (Or not.)
Next is this screen, which lets you do limited cropping. Since you won’t have to crop the picture, press Save the photo. And that’s it – you’ll have your beautiful new mug shot on your LinkedIn profile.
Next step: repeat this process on all your social media sites. Why? You want your personal brand to be the same everywhere. Remember when Coca Cola tried to change their formula and there was a huge consumer rebellion? People get to know and expect some thing if they see it often enough. One of he key principals of branding is to be consistent!
One more note. If you object to resizr.com, there are other sites that will let you do the same thing – just do a Google search on “crop and resize picture” – you can take your choice. Here’s a simple site that just resizes pictures. I’ve used it and recommended it to many others – and it’s also free: shrinkpictures.com.
Shrinkpictures.com will also let you make an avatar out of your picture. Take a look at the address bar of your browser – you’ll see a mini-me there! I made it on this site and saved it on my webserver. Whenever a browser comes to my site, you’ll see my ugly mug staring you in the face.
Maybe I should have used that dog’s face???