Although LinkedIn is a social media platform, it’s unlike any other. Rather than sharing your personal life with your peers, you’ll be networking to find, or remain in, your ideal job. This requires you to think through your profile picture choice. After all, you’re not going to want to post a funny photo, nor should you use a snapshot from your phone. So, what should you do? Read on to find out the best way to get a compelling and professional-looking LinkedIn headshot.
What Should Your LinkedIn Profile Picture Look Like?
Choosing the right photo for your LinkedIn profile should take into consideration your personality and the impression you want to leave. Generally, the following are essentials for displaying your professional side.
- Your photo needs to look like you.
- Your face should take up the majority of the frame.
- You should be the only person in the picture.
- Choose an approachable photo with an authentic expression. Confident, competent, friendly, genuine. Be yourself, it will show.
- Wear what you would wear to work. Dress for the job that you have or want. If it’s a more casual job then you’d look weird in a 3 piece suit, if you’re a high-powered attorney you might consider a tie.
How to Take a Professional Photo for LinkedIn
Getting the right photo for LinkedIn can be difficult. That’s because the image needs to be professional but also approachable. How do you walk the line between these two criteria? Here’s a few tips for achieving the right LinkedIn headshot:
- Choose a Recent Image – The purpose of your headshot is to get your foot in the door, but it’s also to present yourself with how you’d like to be seen: competent, professional, honest, genuine and trustworthy.
Let’s face it, most of us don’t look like we did in our 20s, even so, it’s best to avoid using an older photo. You don’t want clients or customers wondering comparing you to a15 year old photo and wondering if they’re in the wrong place. It’s best to present yourself as you are.
- Dress Correctly – Choosing the right outfit may feel daunting, but there’s an easy way to do it. Simply think about the profession you want and dress accordingly! In other words, if the people who are currently doing the job in question wear a suit, then you’ll need to do the same. If, however, they wear a polo shirt and khakis, you should adjust your look (we’’ touch on more of this later).
- Requirements Exist for a Reason – It doesn’t make sense to spend a great deal of time and effort on a profile photo, only to have it rejected. To prevent this, make sure it matches LinkedIn’s profile photo guidelines and sizing when you’re creating and uploading your profile photo – that way, it ends up looking fantastic every time.
- Don’t Forget the Cover Photo – It isn’t your profile photo, per se, but the cover photo you upload to LinkedIn can cause yours to shrink or change position on smartphones and similar devices. And, you don’t want someone to miss important information about you because they used a different device. Follow LinkedIn’s requirements and guidelines for uploading your custom cover photo, the same way you did with your profile photo.
- A Single Headshot is Best – LinkedIn is a professional website, and the focus should be on you. That being said, save the fun group pics for Facebook. A single headshot is best, and you should also ensure that your face takes up about 60% of the frame.
- Use a High Resolution Photo: Use a high resolution photo, although 8MB is the max. Try to avoid small, low-resolution images, which can happen if you try to take a picture of your employee badge. Always use a fresh one instead.
- Hiring a Pro Goes a Long Way – A selfie might be great for your social media profile, but the professional nature of LinkedIn requires a more professional approach. A professionally photographed headshot will help you stand out from your peers among potential employers or clients. It gives the right impression and helps to establish your place as a serious candidate.
LinkedIn Headshot Tips
One of the first things to remember when getting a photo taken is to avoid extraneous details. Rather than doing a half-body shot, focus much more closely on your face. The photo you choose shouldn’t show more than the top 1/3 of your chest.
Another tip to keep in mind is that there is more than one reason not to select a younger image of yourself. Aside from giving people a red flag, it can also make you look too young for the job you’d like. Remember the common adage: wisdom comes with age.
Making eye contact is also a major point. But no matter what you choose to do with your eyes, make sure you’re not wearing sunglasses.
LinkedIn headshots are all about creating your personal brand. Therefore, you want to work with a photographer who is also an artist. Make sure your personal brand shines through in your profile pic.
What Should I Wear to a LinkedIn Headshot?
Your Linkedin profile photo is the essence of your personal brand, and it is at the heart of the message you want to convey about yourself. Here are some tips on what to wear to a LinkedIn headshot:
- No Busy Stripes or Patterns: Avoid busy stripes or patterns since the photo itself is fairly small (400 X 400 pixels). After all, you don’t want anything that detracts too much from the real focus which is, of course, you.
- Avoid Too Much Jewelry: Similar to the effect in #1, too much jewelry can be distracting. A pair of earrings can be a nice and understated touch, but something like a chunky necklace tends to be distracting.
- Layers are Great: Layers look professional and bump up the contrast. Don’t wear too many layers on a hot, summer day, though. You can create an oven for yourself!
- Dress for the Industry: Do a little research and dress for the industry you are looking to work in. For instance, find out what the typical dress code is. If it’s business/casual, then a dark suit and tie might be too much. On the other hand, if you’re hoping to be hired by a powerful law firm, then a power suit might be more appropriate.
- When in Doubt, Dress Up: No one is ever going to fault you for being overdressed in your LinkedIn profile pic. Meanwhile, being undressed can give the impression that you are sloppy or don’t take yourself or the job seriously.
- Be Confident, Yet Comfortable: Wear something that you feel confident in. In other words, pick the outfit that you get compliments on everytime you wear it. If you feel comfortable and confident then your headshot will reflect that.
Additionally, be sure that you feel comfortable in your clothing. You still need to look your best, of course, and you can reach this goal even with the fanciest outfit. If it’s the choice between one suit that’s comfortable and another that’s not, always choose comfort. This will make your image seem more genuine, which is a huge part of getting an interview.
Can You Use a Selfie For LinkedIn?
While selfies are becoming more accepted on this professional networking site, it is still recommended to have a professional headshot.
A professional photo shows that you take yourself seriously and people will treat you accordingly.
First impressions go a long way. Your profile picture on LinkedIn is a key element to your presence there, and research shows that having a professional picture makes your headshot and profile more likely to be viewed by others. Kyle Bondeson is a professional, Chicago area headshot photographer with years of experience. When it’s time to spruce up your LinkedIn page, be sure to contact us!