A picture for your LinkedIn profile should reflect a professional image. What does that mean?
That does not mean the picture has to be taken by a professional photographer. What I mean is that the picture should show you in professional attire, something you would wear to a networking event or to a job interview.
The picture should be a close up of your face, a so-called "head shot", that allows someone who has met you at a networking event to recognize you on line -- or vice versa: if they have seen your LinkedIn picture they should be able to find you at a networking event without having to peer at everyone's name tag. Don't hide your face behind sunglasses and a hat or by showing only your side profile.
Also keep in mind that your LinkedIn profile represents YOU. Therefore make sure only you are actually in the picture, not you and your spouse, you and party guests or you and your entire wedding party.
LinkedIn is not facebook. Therefore avoid pictures showing you engaged in a hobby, like holding up a big fish or being a small figure on an expansive ski slope.
Reserve company logos for your LinkedIn business page. If you are an owner of a small business you can set up a company page on LinkedIn free of charge. Just like on facebook, this should be a separate page from your personal page. So don't hide behind a logo on your personal profile.
The most important thing, though, regardless of all of the above: SMILE! Look at other people's pictures and notice how much more you are drawn to those pictures of people smiling rather than those with a serious face. Being approachable is half the battle.
Do you agree or disagree with the above points? Share your feedback in the comments.
Heike Heemann, LinkedIn and career coach, brings over 20 years of business experience to her blog.