How to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile and Get More Connections

You have one chance to make a great first impression to recruiters and other professionals on LinkedIn. Make sure your photo is professional, properly cropped and career appropriate.  Photo Credit

You have one chance to make a great first impression to recruiters and other professionals on LinkedIn. Make sure your photo is professional, properly cropped and career appropriate. Photo Credit

Based on some of the connection requests I see from young professionals lately, I decided it was time to focus on LinkedIn and perception. We all know LinkedIn is a professional networking site, right? And, everyone carries a camera around in their hands all day, right?  So, why are there so many weak profile images? Your Office Mom can only assume no one has really explained the nuances of this whole thing and given real life examples of what to avoid.

Your profile image is important to your career for two reasons. As you're building your network, people often look at your profile to find out who the hell you are before accepting your invitation to connect. Well, the really important ones do anyway. And recruiting software is always trolling. Search results shoot back your profile in all its glory, including your pearly whites. In both instances, you only have one chance to make a great first impression and some of the images I see are a little unprofessional, creepy and weird.

That being said, here are Your Office Mom's guidelines on when it's time to upload a different image.  You may think these are funny, but, these are real-life examples. And, if you're serious about your career, network or job search, click the link below for tips to immediately improve your profile.

  1. If your LinkedIn photo is cropped and there is a hand on your shoulder that's not yours, get another image. On second thought, even if it is your hand, change it. If your head is resting on your hands that's really only endearing if you're in grade school.

  2. If you are hugging a tree in your LinkedIn pic change it unless you work for the forestry department, or you are an environmentalist and trees are critical to your cause.

  3. If you are lying on a bed or in any other suggestive pose take another picture, unless you're in the adult entertainment industry and hoping to stay there.

  4. If you upload an image but your chin is missing or you have a huge forehead or big eyeball you need to resize it people.

  5. If you're leaning in to strike a flirty pose, post that one on Tinder, FB or Instagram. You aren't trying to get a date or hook up on LinkedIn. Not usually anyway. One of the biggest complaints on LinkedIn is that people act like it's FB.

  6. If you're wearing a fedora and your head is slightly tilted to the side you have got to get a new picture.

  7. If there is a bathroom, closet, bed, nude painting or a TV commercial in the background get a new picture.

  8. If you can’t see your face because the image is so dark it looks like you're in a bar (and you may be) you need a new picture.

  9. If your LinkedIn photo is a selfie find a friend to take your picture. Everyone knows it probably took you 15+ attempts to get the one you finally posted and that’s just sad.

  10. I get it that some people disagree with #9, but if your armpit is visible in your selfie, you need a new picture! You obviously need a longer arm or a selfie stick (which is so lame).

  11. If your LinkedIn photo is duckface you need to change it immediately.

  12. If your image is of you and another person no matter how beautiful or adorable they are, take a new photo. Your professional profile is only about YOU. Oh, and put down the damn dog!

  13. If your image is from a party, change it. If you think it's a good picture, but it's blurry change it because it was probably taken at a party, hence the blurry part.

  14. If your LinkedIn photo is from a wedding, get a new one. The only exception is if the image is cropped so it’s an amazing headshot without a hand, flower or updo in sight.

  15. If you are on a beach or poolside in swimwear no matter what your body type, it’s time for a new picture unless you’re looking for a modeling gig. The same goes for full body images.

  16. If you're in a t-shirt and boating, drinking or doing any other form of recreation unless it relates to company culture or the industry you're pursuing, change it.

  17. And, finally if you don’t have a photo, you should reconsider. They are the standard and everyone is wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Although I haven't lived it, I know there are reasons for anonymity. If you feel perception or discrimination may be a factor, consider adding an image of some kind (a place or thing, like college logo) instead. It's likely more favorably perceived than the egg or blue avatar.

Want more? Related reading:

While you’re checking out your photo check out 7 things you must take off your LinkedIn profile immediately | Time.

Don't waste your time. Here are 10 Tips for Supercharging Your LinkedIn Profile. Top on the list is the importance of a professional image! 

Science Says This One Thing in Your LinkedIn Profile Will Make or Break Your Chances of Getting Hired. Guess what it is? You got it, but be sure to read the article for suggestions.

Look at my LinkedIn profile Dory Wilson here. What LinkedIn suggestions can you share based on what you see on LinkedIn? Please comment.