Depending on the type of person you are, and perhaps depending on where you work as well, you might be surprised by what you find on my LinkedIn profile. Maybe it will be my profile photo, hopefully the first thing you notice, as I assume the designers over at LinkedIn designed profile pages with that idea in mind. Or, perhaps it’s the line “Geek, otaku, tram and elevator enthusiast by free time.” in my Summary section. And perhaps those look unprofessional to you. First off, yes, I get that LinkedIn is supposed to be the “professional” social network. But I’m fairly sure I’ve never had a “professional” profile photo. And to be honest, I don’t really plan to.
Why? Well, it’s not who I am. Perhaps it is because I don’t currently work a 9-to-5 job, but I don’t walk around Philly in a business suit, nor even a button-down shirt all the time. Do I own them? Of course. Same with dress pants, dress socks, a tie, and dress shoes that are more comfortable than my sneakers. I do, however, sport a polo from time-to-time, usually my Leopard Team polo from Apple, but sometimes my SEPTA polo as well, which, on a side note, is perhaps the most comfortable shirt I own.
Do I have photos of me in “dress clothes”? Of course, but none staged against a boring, white background. And so, historically, my LinkedIn profile photo has been me sitting with my desk at Drexel in the background. There have been exceptions, like the photo of me at the Chinese Garden of Friendship in Sydney. While my photos have always been staged, they’ve been spur of the moment ones.
I also tend to use the same profile photo across all networks I am on. That means, yes, my LinkedIn photo is frequently the same photo I use on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, I use an IFTTT recipe to sync my Facebook photo to Twitter. In the case of LinkedIn, I generally download my photo from Facebook to upload it to LinkedIn, conveniently already cropped and with a small file size. But, that isn’t always the case.
The above photo (at time of writing) is my current Facebook and Twitter profile photo. So why isn’t it my photo on LinkedIn too? In this case, I’d call it too casual. Yes, it is a good representation of who I am, but it’s not the right fit for LinkedIn. Plus, considering recruiters are increasingly looking you up on Twitter, Facebook, etc. these days, they’ll see it anyway. I don’t hide my social profiles. Do I care recruiters are going through the darkest corners of the internet to dig up info on me? No. I don’t pretend to be someone else on the internet. I think the “Geek, otaku, tram and elevator enthusiast by free time.” line in my LinkedIn Summary shows that. This is how I write, and my profile photos show how I look.