Having a LinkedIn profile picture is by far one of the most important elements in having an attractive LinkedIn profile overall.
From personal experience, I can tell you that your LinkedIn profile is about 10 times more likely to receive a click if you have a LinkedIn profile picture when compared to the person without one.
If you're concerned about the expense, don’t worry.
This shouldn’t cost you a penny.
You can either browse through your existing photos with the below recommendations in mind or take a new picture.
A friend or family member can take the perfect LinkedIn photo for you in just a couple of minutes using the camera on a smartphone.
Before you go find your cameraman/woman, there are a few things that you need to know to help you capture a great LinkedIn profile photo.
1. Sanity within your smile
Please do not have a frown or angry expression.
No recruiter will call you if you look like a scary or mean person to talk to in your LinkedIn profile picture.
This is also true for overly happy people or someone who is laughing in their LinkedIn photo.
Studies have proven that people with too large of a smile come off as either fake or deranged.
(Please don't look like the Joker.)
No one wants to hire someone who looks angry, insane, or fake.
Take a deep breath and relax.
An upward slanting, moderately happy smile will do.
2. Dress for the job
Find out what the average person in your industry wears to work.
Dress accordingly for your LinkedIn profile photo.
If you know that you will need to wear a suit to work, then don’t wear a t-shirt in your LinkedIn profile photo.
Remember, it is better to overdress than underdress.
To put it another way, it is better to show a lot of effort than none at all.
Even if you are in a startup environment with casual dress attire, it can’t hurt to throw on a button-up for your LinkedIn photo.
It’s good to remember that LinkedIn is a professional network and you never know what opportunities might find you if you look the part.
3. Shoulders up
Men and women, respect yourselves and crop your LinkedIn profile photo appropriately.
The photo should focus on your face, above the chest line.
We definitely recommended that you include the shoulders.
A straight shot of your face can be a little bit overwhelming.
You want to have the camera positioned far enough where there is some space to see the background.
I would recommend your face taking up about 60-70% of the entire frame.
Speaking of background ...
4. Subtle background
Your background should either have a really basic surface or be unfocused.
If too much is going on behind you, it could distract the viewers.
Why would you let your profile picture background steal your thunder?
Recruiters and hiring managers are going to be looking at your LinkedIn profile for more about you.
The focus should be on your face, not whatever is going on around you!
5. Let there be light
You can have the right posture, the right clothes, the right angle, but bad lighting can ruin it all.
Different lighting can present different problems:
- Not enough light and no one can see your face.
- Using a flash in a dark room will make your face look plain strange.
- Too much light and the color gets washed out from the picture altogether.
If at all possible, use natural lighting.
Some advantages to natural lighting include:
- You have no unnecessary or strange shadows.
- It will add natural color to your skin.
- Unlike artificial lighting, natural light requires no adjusting.
6. Choose a recent photo
Make sure to set realistic expectations for whoever is viewing your profile.
If you are looking for a job and you are in your mid-forties, don’t add a photo of yourself from your twenties.
You can guarantee that you will lose trust with the interviewer and you will not get the job if you look completely different from your LinkedIn profile photo.
Be honest and upfront.
Find a recent picture or take a new one.
Some things to remember
You act differently with your friends and at home than you do at work, right?
(Well, we hope you do.)
This isn’t any different.
Remember, your LinkedIn profile isn’t the same as your Facebook profile ... or most other social media, for that matter.
Your LinkedIn profile picture isn’t the space to yourself partying, swimming, or your usual wacky, off-the-books personality.
This is where you show recruiters and hiring managers your professional self.
It’s as easy as having good lighting, good posture, the right clothes, and a nice smile.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will surely set your best foot forward.
Now that you know the six most important tips for a great LinkedIn photo, grab your camera or go through your pictures and get started.
You are going to notice an immediate increase in profile views once you do this.
Bonus: keep improving your LinkedIn profile
A well-shot LinkedIn profile picture will definitely leave anyone who views your LinkedIn profile with a good first impression.
However, a good profile picture can only get you so far.
The content on your profile also needs to do some heavy lifting.
For more ways to improve your LinkedIn profile, check out the 19 Essential LinkedIn Profile Tips for Job Seekers.
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Job searching is hard enough as it is. The last thing you want to do is risk being passed up for your dream job because of an inferior social media profile or cover photo.
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