If you’re active on LinkedIn, you may already understand how important it is to choose a profile picture that makes a good first impression. Unique, from both Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is a social network for business professionals.
Now more than ever before, the line between our personal and professional lives are blurred. In fact, many employers admitted googling job candidates before considering them for a position.
So, how do you make sure that you’re truly putting your best foot (or face in this case) forward? Follow these tips to make a solid first impression.
11 Tips for a Professional LinkedIn Profile Photo:
- No photo is not acceptable. Nothing screams amateur or newbie more than the the grey silhouette of LinkedIn’s default image. If you’re going to jump on the social media bandwagon, find an image that looks good for your profile.
- Use a current photo. You might love that old photo from twenty years ago because you were having a good hair day or you still had hair, but don’t use it for your LinkedIn profile picture. Your photo should look like you do today not when you graduated from high school. Staying current will also help others you’ve connected with identify you and avoid confusion. It’s a good idea to update your photo once a year.
- Use a head shot. LinkedIn profile pictures are small. A head shot will scale down much better than a full body photo. LinkedIn is about business relationships.
- Avoid dark glasses and sunglasses. If you have glasses that transition to sunglasses make sure they are not dark for your photo. Let people see your eyes.
- Do not use a group shot for your profile photo. Your profile is you, not you with a group. Using a group shot will confuse people visiting your profile too.
- Dress in business attire. Think about how you dress at your job. If you wouldn’t wear the clothing you’re pictured in, consider a different outfit. You wouldn’t want your cleavage or chest hair to be the first thing someone notices about you in real life. Make sure it’s not the first thing they notice about you on LinkedIn too. If you’re new to the job market, dress for the job you’d like to get. If you are unsure about what to wear, search through other profiles in your industry and look at what other professionals are wearing.
- Keep your business profile photo simple. Don’t use props. A good head shot is all you need. LinkedIn profiles are small. There’s no room for props.
- Consider your expression. If you choose a photo where you look angry or sad you’ll be off putting to your audience. Select a photo that exudes happiness, confidence and friendliness. If you look friendly in your profile, people will be more likely to connect with you.
- Red eyes are a no-no. Looking like a demon won’t do you any favors. Most photo editing software has fix red eye options. Remember, preventing red eyes is easier than fixing them. To prevent red eyes in photos, avoid using the flash function. Instead, try increasing the natural lighting or bouncing your flash.
- No matter how cute they are, never, ever use a caricature or cartoon for your profile picture.
- Now is not the time for an amateur self portrait. Avoid cell phone mirror pictures or photos taken with a webcam. There are lots of photo studios that specialize in business photo packages. Book your session and let a professional handle the rest.
Good profile photo example:
Bad profile photo example: