These days, most recruiters agree that your LinkedIn profile is more important than your resume. So it makes sense that you’ll want to take the time to create the best possible LinkedIn profile you can. The photograph you use is also very important as it’s a chance present yourself as approachable and professional.
LinkedIn is an online business network for professionals. In this way it differs from other social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. Your LinkedIn profile needs to represent your professional identity and the small photograph you use might influence whether or not you are chosen by employers. If you decide not to include a photo it can work against your job prospects, as recruiters will likely preference candidates with photos as they seem more open and personable.
Below are our tips on how to have the best possible profile picture on LinkedIn.
- Dress professionally. It’s important to keep at the forefront of your mind the professional context of your LinkedIn profile. If somebody took a great photo of you at a wedding or the beach for instance, it may be tempting to use this photo, but you need to ask yourself – is this something I would wear to work? If the answer is no, then you should look to take another photograph in which you are dressed in something you would wear to work.
- Look approachable. It can be awkward having your photo taken and striking the right expression for a work profile photo is hard. Remember that looking professional does not mean you have to look serious. You will look more genuine and approachable if you relax and smile in the photo. The aim is to look warm and friendly.
- Keep it recent. It’s possible you already have the perfect professional headshot photo, only it’s from 10 years ago! It might be tempting to use this photo anyway, but this will do you no favours. Potential employers want to see you as you are now. It’s also a good idea to wear whatever you wear on a daily basis for work in the profile pic. For instance, if you’re using a profile photo from 15 years ago before you needed glasses and you go for an interview wearing them and looking different in other ways, this can be disconcerting for a prospective employer as they may struggle to recognise you.
- Consider having a professional photo taken. It might feel like a waste of money but creating a professional looking profile picture can be harder than it seems. A good photographer will be able to help put you at ease so they can capture you in a genuine way. Photographers are also masters of light and angle, so you can relax knowing you’re in good hands and they will be able to capture you in the best possible way.
- Make it a headshot. Your head should take up at least 50% of the frame. Full body shots generally don’t work in the context of LinkedIn profile photos, partly because when your head takes up less space, it becomes harder to read your face and to gauge how friendly you are.
- Use your dating site profile photo. This may seem obvious but it’s an important one. Even if you chose to use a professional looking headshot of yourself on a dating site, it’s best to have a clear delineation between these two worlds.
- Take a selfie. A selfie is not going to give the professional look you’re going for. It will instead seem casual and throw away, thereby sending the wrong message to prospective employees.
- Use a group shot. Cropping your head out of a group photo might seem like a quick solution but it isn’t a good idea. It usually looks odd when people crop themselves out of group shots. For example, maybe the friend you were standing next to has stray hairs billowing near your face, or maybe you’re leaning too much to one side.
- Use poor quality photos. Remember when digital cameras first arrived and they created photos that were really quite terrible? Photos were so pixelated they looked a bit like a real-life version of Minecraft. Don’t make the mistake of uploading an image that is low resolution and not clear. This extends to using filters that obscure your image.