Are you one of the many lawyers out there with a LinkedIn profile but no photo? Yes, I’m talking to you! Let me be the first to congratulate you on having a LinkedIn profile; after all, so many attorneys are completely ignoring all the career boosting and business-building opportunities LinkedIn has to offer. If you haven’t displayed your photo, though, your online networking efforts are likely not as productive as they could be.
I keep noticing that many people don’t have photos on their LinkedIn profiles. So, this morning, I randomly chose 5 of my LinkedIn connections and did a very unscientific survey to see how many of their connections had posted photos (I know, I probably need to get out more). What I discovered was that the percentages of people without pictures on LinkedIn ranged from 23% of one person’s contacts to a whopping 62% of another’s!
LinkedIn for Lawyers – The Written Word is Not Enough
While there’s some debate in the online community as to whether professionals in job transition should post a photo (concerns about lawful hiring practices are usually cited), it seems to me that for an attorney, whether job hunting or not, a photo is a critical piece of your LinkedIn profile. You’re on LinkedIn to connect with friends, classmates and colleagues and, presumably, to develop business relationships that might lead to new clients or other opportunities. While your profile or job description might be impressive, your photo makes you real.
As a busy lawyer, you may be meeting lots of new people and may not have the time to come face-to-face with all of your contacts. It’s sometimes hard to remember what people look like and it can be unsettling or embarrassing not to be able to connect a name with a face. If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that you feel more comfortable reaching out to someone you don’t know particularly well when you can see a face next to the name.
Have you ever had the experience of trying to search for someone with a fairly common name only to find that there are 34 “Jane Does” and 21 of them don’t have photos? It’s frustrating, and keeps us from connecting because most of us are afraid of reaching out to the wrong person. I’m always particularly surprised when a lawyer’s photo is displayed on his law firm biography, but he hasn’t used it on LinkedIn. You already have the photo, so use it! Having your professional photo displayed wherever you may be found online is an important step toward developing your professional brand, and helps people feel they know you. Since people do business with and refer clients to those they know, like, and trust, a current photo is an important piece of your marketing presence online.
LinkedIn for Lawyers – Make the Right Impression
Please note that I used the words “professional” and “current” when describing your photo. I leave it to you to define the term “professional” – the definition might change slightly depending on the type of clients you typically represent. For example, an entertainment lawyer representing artists and musicians might have a more informal take on the professional photo. For most attorneys, though, a picture of you at a backyard barbecue in a T-shirt and jeans is not going to enhance your professional image. And make sure your picture has been taken within the last three years or so, particularly if you have changed your appearance dramatically. You don’t want to startle people who meet you in person for the first time and discover you are actually 15 years older and significantly grayer than the person they were expecting to meet.
There are many steps you can take to boost your networking and business development success; posting your photo online is probably the easiest. So take a few minutes today to upload that photo!