Selfie is not good?
Shockingly, more than 75% of the profiles we came across did not feature a professional headshot. Instead, our screen was filled some of the funniest (and also creepiest) images I had ever come across. Apparently people are still thinking of LinkedIn as some kind of Facebook-like site.
A sampling of some of the images we found:
This was a guy who was wearing a cowboy hat and kerchief around his neck. If he was a cattle trainer or even a male stripper, I might understand this get-up. The fact that he is a translator from Poland was what was causing the confusion…and about 15 minutes of belly laughs
This was a photo of a man being kissed on the cheek by two women at the same time. No other description necessary. His profession? Management consultant.
This photo was of a women who was smiling (with redeye to boot), sitting at a bar with a cocktail in hand, displaying her…assets. She is a financial professional.
The Family Guy
This is actually not a description of just one profile, but more like an entire genre of LinkedIn photos. Lots and lots of babies. I don’t know if there is a minimum age for featuring a profile on LinkedIn, but I’m guessing that these photos are not actually of the professional featured in the profile. For some reason, these users felt more comfortable featuring their children instead of themselves in the on-line equivalent of their curriculum vitae. Maybe they are hoping to attract clients with the “Awww” factor. Many are CPA’s, contractors and business development executives.
The “Big Fish”
There were a few guys with pictures of themselves on fishing boats, in shorts, with very large fish in their hands. Not professional fishermen. Insurance salespeople and bankers.
Then there was the guy who is a nationally known authority on managing wealth. He is associated with a well-respected global family office and thought it would be a good idea to post a photo of himself doing the Electric Slide at a wedding. Not sure how to comment on this one.
I encourage all of my clients to embrace their authentic selves. And humor can certainly be a really great ice-breaker in the networking game. But there is a fine line between featuring a personal touch and significantly devaluing one’s public professional image with a poor photographic choice. I say, spend the money on a professional headshot. It is always a great investment, especially with the miracle of Photoshop.