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Believe it or not, LinkedIn will be celebrating its eighteenth birthday later this year. In that time it’s evolved from an online recruitment site to a valuable marketing and networking platform for businesses of all sizes.

In recent years Ive noticed increased awareness among users of the importance of not just having a LinkedIn profile picture, but an effective one. Gone are the days when it was deemed acceptable to use that badly cropped selfie of yourself on a night out!

And this awareness has been reflected in my own portrait photography. I have taken on more and more commissions specifically from people wanting an image (or images) for use on LinkedIn, whether they are employed or self-employed.

So why is it so important to having a standout LinkedIn portrait? Read on to learn about three distinct benefits it will bring to you, your profile, and your business.

1) It demonstrates effort

I get it. Its easy not to bother searching for and uploading a photo. Maybe you dont have one to hand or the ones you do have youre not that keen on.

The problem is that not having a picture, at best, makes your profile look incomplete. At worst it just looks lazy. Whenever I come across a LinkedIn connection who doesnt have a profile picture my usual reaction is that they are not an active user which makes me question the value of connecting in the first place.

Having a portrait or headshot demonstrates that you have made the effort to complete your profile not just for your own benefit but for the benefit of others. It demonstrates that you are active and invested in the platform and this is so important when you are trying to establish relationships (see below).

2) Helps form a relationship

Before anyone reads your well-crafted biography or impressive work experience they will first see your profile portrait. In that split second, just as you do when you visit a website for the first time, an instinctive opinion will be made about you and your business.

Having an effective LinkedIn photo will help establish a relationship with other connections more immediately and more readily. Showing who you are is open and friendly the virtual equivalent of shaking hands or introducing yourself at a networking event.

You cant rely on connections to read through all your achievements or background to determine who you are and what you are about. However, an effective profile portrait can help communicate some (if not all) of that message in a fraction of a second, making it more likely that they will want to form a relationship with you.

3. Connects you and your work

Now that you have grabbed attention with your photo, potential connections will likely take a closer look at the finer details of your profile. Dont underestimate how powerful your picture is in creating a bridge between who you are and what it is you do.

Effective LinkedIn portraits and headshots will make that transition seamless. For example, if your portrait is of you in a suit taken in an office environment it will come as little surprise to a connection to find out you work in the corporate sector.

On the other hand, an ineffective portrait (or complete absence of one) will risk creating tension between who you are and what you do, which can undermine trust. Your LinkedIn profile is a combination of text and images so treat it as a complete package that is telling your story.

If you would like any further advice about your LinkedIn photo or would like to discuss ideas for a portrait session then do not hesitate to get in touch.

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