Rarely does a day go by in which I do not receive two or three invitations to connect with people on Linkedin, the pre-eminent online business networking platform.

I enjoy making these connections as they often present great opportunities to connect in person and initiate meaningful business relationships.

Without an ounce of exaggeration, I can say that such connections through Linkedin have translated to hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue for my business.

There is a special bonus feature on Linkedin that always brightens my day. You see, when I click on the “Accept” button, I am automatically taken to Linkedin’s “People You May Know” section.

From there, I can view row after row of photographs of people who Linkedin presents as good connection candidates.

Skimming through these mugshots can be good for business. . . but it also reveals a serious flaw in the local business culture. For whatever reason, the majority of people on Linkedin do not take their first impressions seriously.

From the extreme closeup that reveals far too many chins and nostril hairs, to the classic Where’s Waldo photo, to having no photo at all, countless Canadians are counting themselves out when it comes to connecting.

A negative first impression, indeed, can make all the difference in whether or not key prospective associates – customers, business partners, suppliers, shareholders, employers, etc. – decide to connect with you.

Rather than pay a professional photographer $200 to $300 to help ensure a positive first impression with influential members of the business community, most folks on Linkedin are content to post poor-quality and often ridiculously unprofessional 
or inappropriate images of themselves.

My intent in this piece is not to mock people for what I call the pics of the litter (OK, 
maybe a little), but rather to inspire people to put their best face forward.

The ideal solution is to arrange a professional photo shoot. Laura Parry, a friend and talented photographer who often shoots for Business Edge, provides 12 heads hots 
(fully retouched) for $240 plus GST.

Kirstey Ball is another excellent photographer who provided some mugshots (not the ones on this page) that are much more flattering than the image I see in the mirror each morning. Contact me at Info@BusinessEdge.ca and I
 can put you on a direct path to a great first impression.

If you are unwilling to part with a couple hundred bucks and insist on using your phone to produce this very important image, at the very least, please avoid the . . .

Top 7 Linkedin Profile Photo Sins:

7. Party poopers —You love to recall that epic new year’s eve party, but Linkedin is a professional networking platform and therefore not the place for images of chugging beer or drunken celebrations.

6. No photo —The non-photo will make you a non-factor in the minds of many as it implies that you are either too lazy to upload a simple mugshot or you do not have the
 technical know-how. (BTW Linkedin makes it REALLY
 easy to do.)

5. Jersey boys —If you are wearing a professional sports jersey, are standing beside a professional sports trophy or you are posing with a celebrity in your Linkedin profile 
photo, it is time to upgrade your image and be proud of the important person that YOU are!

4. Beware the background —A closely cropped (but not tight to the nose) image will eliminate embarrassing items in the background such as your friend with the camera in the mirror or an antler or post sticking out of your head.

3. Come-hither look —Linkedin is not AshleyMadison.com. Rather than their slogan “Life is short. Have an affair.”
... try going with “Linkedin is support. Have a fair . . . image!”

2. Where’s Waldo —A photo in which the viewer cannot determine the intended subject is worse than having no photo at all. Your head and shoulders should comprise all or the vast majority of the profile photo box.

1. Selfie awareness —As fun as they can be for Facebook and Instagram, selfies are generally a terrible idea for Linkedin. However, if you have no friends willing to help, please be sure
 to avoid having parts of other humans in the frame.