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Why you need a picture on your personal branding profiles

You need a picture on your LinkedIn profile. Why is that controversial? It shouldn’t be – this is your profile, and you can do whatever you want with it. If you want people to remember you, use a picture. End of story.

I’ve talked to hundreds of people about this, and I’ll share some of the excuses I’ve heard people give…

  1. I don’t have a professional picture.
    • Yeah, me too. No excuse. You probably bought some nice clothes for your interviews – well you won’t get to wear them if you don’t get any interviews. Spend a little money and get a good head shot.
  2. I don’t want people to see how old I am.
    • Get over it. They’re going to find out anyway.
  3. I don’t want people to know that I’m [African-American/Asian/Martian].
    • No slick answer on this one. It’s hard for me to relate to the problems “minorities” face. This may be a legitimate excuse, although I tend to think of it in the same terms as the age question.
  4. I don’t want to get disqualified by HR because they saw my picture.
    • I never even considered this until I saw it on Neal Shaffer’s blog. My comment on that blog stands: while HR people are not allowed to look at your picture – and may automatically disqualify you if your picture is attached to your resume – there is no way they can avoid pictures of people they are researching. So you may run into an HR person or recruiter who believes this, but I think it’s highly unlikely.
  5. I don’t know how to put my picture on LinkedIn.
    • This is the easiest objection. Just check out my blog – I have instructions for uploading your picture.

How about the benefits of using a picture, especially if you use the same one on all your profiles?

  1. Faces are easier to remember than names. If you’re out networking and you meet 30 people one evening, I guarantee you’ll remember the people who have a picture on their business card. And yes, I advise that as well as a picture on LinkedIn.
  2. Face memory isn’t just easier, it lasts longer. Thankfully, this isn’t a refereed journal, so I don’t have to cite any evidence. But you know it’s true.
  3. Images are part of your brand. That’s why companies spend soooo much money on logos. And it’s also why they use the same logo on each product, rather than changing it slightly each time. Who doesn’t know the Coca Cola or Pepsi Cola logos? You need to reinforce your brand in everything you do – that’s why I use my mug shot on my business card, my email, and my blog.

If you disagree with me, or if you want to add anything to this post, please leave comments. It would be interesting to hear some other opinions.

Posted in Personal branding.

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4 Responses

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  1. Chris Perry says

    Walter, I couldn’t agree more.

    If you are creating a personal brand for your career search, your business or even just your career development, your name (and/or your one-word personal brand) and your face are your brand. Not having your picture up detracts from your personal brand and makes you less consistent and professional and leaves you less memorable. Put up the best picture you have of yourself until you have a chance to get a nice career-related headshot and get that picture up across your profiles, websites, business cards etc. as soon as possible.

    • Walter Feigenson says

      Chris, thanks for the comment. Looks like a great site – I hope some of my readers will visit you!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. How to Complete Your LinkedIn Profile | Blog linked to this post on July 17, 2009

    […] people decide not to use a picture. I think this is a mistake, and I’ve written more about it here. I’ll just state quickly that a picture is an important part of your brand because people […]

  2. Make Sure Your LinkedIn Profile is 100 Percent Complete | Blog linked to this post on January 21, 2010

    […] your logo. If you want to read more about the importance of your picture, I’ve written more here. And if you need instructions for getting your picture on LinkedIn, I’ve written about that […]