If you’re new to LinkedIn or trying to revamp your profile, an easy place to start is with your profile picture. You may be wondering, “Well isn’t that an easy decision? Why waste my time reading this?” However, you’d be surprised at how many people choose unprofessional photos or neglect to include a photo at all. To help you decide on exactly which picture to use, we’ve broken down our checklist for choosing the perfect profile picture.
Why choosing the right profile photo matters
Did you know that LinkedIn profiles with professional profile pictures have 21 times more engagement and 9 times more connection requests than those without? (Source) When you’re competing against hundreds of competitors for a chance to interview for one open position, a small detail such as having a good profile picture matters.
Not only does it increase engagement with your profile, but it makes your profile more memorable to recruiters and reminds them that there’s a real human behind all of that information.
Just as you would arrive at your interview in your best attire to show hiring managers your professionalism and care, you’ll want to show the same effort in your profile picture. Below are our tips for choosing the perfect photo.
Looking at your options
Depending on your situation, there are a few different routes you can take when choosing your profile picture. Regardless of which option you choose, we can assure you that these choices far surpass using the same picture of yourself you’ve been using for Instagram. We’re sure it’s a great picture, but just maybe not for LinkedIn
Use a professional (and recent) headshot
When was the last time you took your headshot photos? And if you haven’t taken one, you should. Using a professional headshot is an easy and effective way to show recruiters that you are professional and that you take your career seriously. If possible, you’ll want to use a photo that’s at least from the last 5-8 years so that recruiters have an accurate picture of what you look like now.
Working with a professional photographer also makes your life a lot easier. You won’t need to worry about any editing, placement, lighting, or anything else that comes along with taking the perfect picture. All you have to do is stand there and look nice. Easy enough, right?
If you’re in need of a new headshot, check out BrandResumes’ professional photography services.
Taking a photo yourself
We understand that professional headshots aren’t a viable option for everyone. However, you should still be using a photo that is clean, up-to-date, and professional. Below are our tips on how you can create your own profile picture.
- Dress appropriately: In most cases, try to dress in professional attire and avoid wearing any flashy or distracting accessories. You aren’t trying to garner likes on Instagram, but rather, you’re trying to send a message to recruiters and hiring managers. If you’re in an industry such as fashion or film, you may choose to take a more creative approach with your wardrobe. Otherwise, keep it simple and keep it professional.
- Shoot from the waist up: Similar to how a professional headshot would be framed, your profile picture only needs to be from the waist up. All hiring managers are looking to do is put a face to the name, so much more than that isn’t really necessary.
- Be mindful of your background: Remember, the focus of the photo is meant to be on you. A busy background does nothing but distract your viewer from where their attention really needs to be. When finding the right background, aim for one that is bright and plain. Also, try to avoid white if you can.
- Smile: Everyone looks better with a nice smile. It also makes you appear friendlier and more welcoming to recruiters. Leave the mean-mugging for Instagram.
- Avoid direct sunlight: If you take your picture in direct sunlight, it can cast weird shadows and make the lighting in your photo poor. Also, it’ll make it really difficult for you to see. If you’re using outdoor lighting, the best time is actually when the weather is a bit overcast and not too bright. It’ll make your life a little and keep you from having to play around with the lighting on your photo.
What to avoid
Hiring managers and recruiters love LinkedIn. It allows them to make a quick impression of you when reviewing your resume. However, if they see red flags on your profile or if viewing your profile is difficult, they may completely skip over you as a candidate. To help avoid that, try and avoid the following:
- Group photos
- Poor quality pictures
- Unprofessional photos
- Photos with filters
Since you’re already choosing the perfect profile picture, you should also go ahead and pick a banner photo. Unlike Facebook, this picture should not be one of your family, nice scenery, etc. Instead, try and choose a photo that is related to your current or desired industry. It shows attention to detail and a bit of personality.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t love taking photos of yourself, but it’s sometimes necessary. On the other hand, if you love taking photos of yourself, have fun! Either way, having the right profile picture on your LinkedIn can go a long way when applying for jobs or building your network. For more on how to make the most of your profile, check out this article, and be sure to check in on our blog every Tuesday and Thursday for more tips.