We've all made silly mistakes when broadcasting our professional lives online. Perhaps we've accidentally Facebook requested an employer, forgotten to remove tags from an old, embarrassing YouTube video, or even sent an unprofessional e-mail to a giant listserv.

LinkedIn, however, is arguably the most important page for our professional face online today--and it's something many of us are guilty of doing wrong. You might be wondering--what's the worst gaffe of all?

Turns out, it's actually the most obvious: Not putting a photo to your face.

In an infographic complied by Sales For Life, it is clear that the key to gaining traction on your LinkedIn profile is easier than you might think. You simply need to put a photo--better yet, a really good, professional quality photo--on your profile. Profiles with a photo are viewed 11 times more often than profiles without a photo.

What's the reason for this phenomenon?

Employers and recruiters alike enjoy putting a name to a face. Although it may be a bit premature to judge a job prospect solely from their appearance, there is no denying that looks do play a role--especially on a platform meant for professional networking.

Putting a picture with your profile means that you're unafraid of being seen by prospective employers--in fact, you relish it. You want people to see you, and you are confident enough to broadcast and market yourself. It's incredibly important to remember that there is nothing wrong with being forward when it comes to seeking a new job--it actually shows your courage and eagerness.

Also, having a photo gives the employer a sense of who you are, making you easier to remember and setting you apart as an individual from a sea of names and resumes. If you are competing in a field where companies receive hundreds of applications for one position, you should take every opportunity to make yourself memorable.

Here are some tips for your photo from Sales for Life:

  • Look straight into the camera
  • Wear what you would wear on the job
  • Your face should take up at least 60% of the frame
  • Avoid photos that are old and out of date, and don't post a selfie
  • Smile!
  • Avoid vacation shots or photos of you and your pets (as nice as they may be)
  • Lose the default LinkedIn silhouette--replace it with a photo ASAP.

So why not add the most distinguishing characteristic of all--your face--to up your LinkedIn game? Don't make the worst of disappearing into the cyber abyss of another networking site by forgoing a photo. And--while we're at it--make sure you choose one that's great.

Published on: May 19, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.