LinkedIn currently hosts over 400,000,000 users. But those potential connections don’t mean anything unless you can make the right impression.
Your profile is eleven times more likely to be viewed if it has a profile picture, but don’t just copy and paste your current Facebook pic.
Having the right picture is crucial.
A professional headshot is always the best option. For recruiters and social media managers who heavily rely on LinkedIn, a professional photoshoot can be a worthy investment. However, the average LinkedIn user might not have the resources for this. Don’t worry, you can still get a job-winning LinkedIn profile picture!
To get the perfect shot, just keep the following tips in mind.
You wouldn’t show up to an interview in a t-shirt…so why wear one on your profile? LinkedIn is a strictly professional networking site, and your clothes should reflect that. Choose a picture where you’re wearing business dress.
However, note that dress codes vary from one industry to another. Are you in banking? Go for a suit in a traditional color. Are you in a creative role such as graphic design? Business casual and bright colors might work in your favor.
To selfie, or not to selfie?
While not ideal, you can get away with using a selfie on LinkedIn. However, there are two things you need to watch out for:
- Be wary of the angles you employ. Whenever possible, avoid having your arms awkwardly positioned in the frame. Don’t hold the camera too high or too low—rather aim for straight forward and natural.
- If the camera is too close, it can make viewers uncomfortable. Try to get your shoulders in the frame, not just your face.
It’s usually best to grab a friend and have them take the picture. If there’s nobody around to help you out, try experimenting with your camera’s timer feature. Prop up the camera or phone at eye level and step back to get the shot.
Do NOT take a photo from a past event and crop other people out of the frame. More often than not, it’s obvious when a picture has been cropped. Employers can definitely see your friend’s shoulder.
Get into the habit of taking solo pictures whenever you go to professional networking events. This way, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it’s time to update your LinkedIn picture.
While professionally taken pictures are great, not all photoshoots are appropriate for LinkedIn. Do NOT use photos from your wedding, graduation, or any other non-professional event.
However, if you have a photo session coming up, bring a shirt and blazer with you to get a couple of specialty business shots.
Instagram? No thank you ma’am.
Instagram has taught us how to use filters like a pro, but when it comes to LinkedIn, it’s best to avoid them. Sepia tints, funky colors, or pictures where your face has clearly been altered look unprofessional.
As a best practice, avoid all editing for your LinkedIn picture.
Lighting often makes or breaks a picture. Do NOT use a photo taken at night, or worse, outside at night. The flash reflection in your eyes (a.k.a. demon eyes) isn’t flattering. It’s best to take pictures in natural sunlight or in a well-lit indoor space.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…
What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone? You smile!
Smiling is a human emotional cue that indicates you are safe, nice, and welcoming. Pictures where you are pensively staring into the distance, have a serious expression, or pucker your lips into a duck face make you look unapproachable and unfriendly. A nice warm, regular smile is all you need!
Additionally, humans rely heavily on eye contact, so take off the sunglasses and look in to the camera. It will automatically make you look friendlier.
Well-lit + Professional + Welcoming = one Great LinkedIn Profile Picture.