If your profile displays unattractive gray boxes next to any of your jobs, it’s time to learn how to get rid of them. You do so by connecting to a company page.
I know I probably just lost half of you with that idea, but stick with me on this — it’s easy.
I (too) often see the gray boxes on profiles because one or more jobs haven’t been attached to a LinkedIn company page. No attachment, no pretty logo next to your job title.
Why Should You Care About Company Logos on LinkedIn?
Starting with a bit of history, when LinkedIn first introduced logos, they weren’t a big deal.
But now, if your profile sports too many gray boxes, it says, “I haven’t worked for viable companies. I’m not a player. I don’t even play with players.”
That’s not the meta-message you want to send via your profile.
Moreover, you must connect to a company’s page to appear in its employee and alumni search results.
What’s the Root Cause of Missing Logos?
Thus, it’s good to be aware of the situations that cause your profile to have gray boxes.
I see 4 common reasons for missing logos:
- A previous employer no longer exists.
- An employer exists but hasn’t set up a company page on LinkedIn.
Company Logos for Unemployed People
Let’s start with unemployment. Annoyingly, LinkedIn gives you 2 dings when you show yourself as unemployed:
1. First, the LinkedIn algorithm pushes your profile down in search results.
2. Second, you get a gray logo box.
If you’re unemployed, show yourself as employed at your former company until you find a new job. It’s pretty standard for people to lag months or years on updating their profiles. Thus, it’s not a big deal.
That said, reflect your employment dates accurately on your resume — those matter.
Company Logos for Self-Employed People
Next, let’s talk about self-employment. If you’re self-employed, set up a bare-bones company page with a logo.
LinkedIn gives you easy-to-follow instructions on how to create a company page here.
If you want to see what a company page looks like, visit mine here. You will see it’s pretty basic, but it gets my logo onto my LinkedIn profile.
Company Logos for Companies That No Longer Exist
But what if your former employer has disappeared? Companies no longer exist because:
- They get acquired.
- They go out of business.
First, if you can’t find a company page for an acquired employer, link to the company that bought it. Then, make a note in the related experience section. (Example: Employed by Sun, which Oracle acquired in 2010.)
Second, if you owned a closed business, set up a company page for it now. You might describe its products and services or just give it a logo and call it good.
If you worked for a closed company you didn’t own, you’ll probably have to live with a tombstone. If you’re bold, you could create a company page for it. If you’re lucky, someone else will have already done it.
The gray box problem gets bigger as you move back in time. Think of the “before LinkedIn company pages” and “before LinkedIn” eras.
Fortunately, once a company has a page, LinkedIn is a stickler about making them keep it. They only let companies with fewer than 100 people delete their pages.
Company Logos for Existing Companies
Now, what if you have a job, but your company doesn’t have a LinkedIn page?
First, check again. I had an instance this week where one of my clients said his employer didn’t have a LinkedIn page. When we looked, we found they had finally set up a company page.
If you don’t find one, Marketing or HR usually owns the LinkedIn company page. You can suggest to the CHRO or head of Talent Acquisition that they create one. It’s an essential employer branding asset.
If they’re reluctant, volunteer to do the project for them.
Where to Get a Logo
It’s good to know you need a logo, but how do you get one? You can find designers on Upwork who make credible logos for $25 to $100.
While I love beautiful commercial art, our primary goal is to eliminate the gray box!
To do it yourself, you can use:
1. The Canva Logo Maker (free).
2. The Wix Logo Maker ($20-plus, not an affiliate).
Try them; they’re fun!
I also find that many of my clients “know someone.” They come back with beautiful logos. So you can also ask around.
How to Choose a Logo
Once you have a designer and they give you a few concepts, you have to choose.
Consider asking your network for their thoughts via a LinkedIn poll. Share your top 2 or 3 choices and ask people to vote.
When you’re done, post a second update thanking your network for their help. Then, point them to your profile for a quick look.
How to Add a Company Logo to Your Profile
After you get your logo and set up your company page, here’s how to link the company page to your profile:
- Go to your profile and the relevant job.
- Click the edit pencil at the top right of that job’s section.
- Start typing the company name into the dialog box.
- Click the appropriate company name when it comes up.
- Make sure it populates the dialog box with the company name and logo.
- Click “Save.”
- Check your profile to be sure it took.
That’s it. You’ve just strengthened your profile!
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Updated January 2024
© 2019 – 2024, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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