On LinkedIn, the first impression someone makes of you is made by scanning how you have presented yourself in your profile picture. During the recruitment process, your profile image matters most because it is the first feature on your account that a hiring manager will see and assess. You must learn to maximise the effectiveness and appeal of your profile photo, to market yourself to prospective employers, or even simple connections. This article will teach you how to curate a professional headshot that will impress potential connections and get the invitations to roll in.
A selfie will not get you far on LinkedIn. Invest in a photographer or ask a friend to help you find the perfect headshot. Have them take multiple photos of you, preferably on a DSLR camera to optimise both the photo quality and overall professional look of your headshot. From there, you will have the extra help handling all the camera equipment, and with directing you on how to pose more naturally- this will make all the difference. A second opinion is also more ideal, especially from either a professional or multiple friends/colleagues.
The right photographer will know how to frame you appropriately for a LinkedIn profile picture which is only a small thumbnail. Your photo should be cropped from a couple inches above your head, to the top of your shoulders. Far shots of your full body will not make your face readable and consequently, your profile is not be recognisable by your friends or colleagues. LinkedIn suggests your face should fill 60% of the frame for optimal reception of your profile image.
It should go without saying, but your photo should represent how you look on a normal workday. Your LinkedIn profile viewers need a clear image of how you look in real life in a professional setting- not a photo of you 5 years ago, or in casual clothing, or a candid from a party. If your photo is unreliable, people will be prompted to question your credibility. An updated profile image needs to show the minor details which make ALL the difference such as your latest eyewear, hair colour or makeup style. An additional tip is to keep it consistent across your social media platforms. If you have scheduled a meeting with someone you have only contacted online, chances are they’ve had a little stalk of your profile to prepare them for seeing you for the first time. Therefore, it is recommended to use similar images and themes on your professional and social networking profiles to make you more recognisable.
The purpose of your profile image is to market your personality. From looking stern, friendly or aloof, there are many outcomes for how your photos turn out after the photoshoot. Generally, a warm smile works best to put people at ease and invite them to connect with you. LinkedIn suggests people are shown to be twice as likeable and influential if they show teeth in their smiles, as opposed to a closed mouth smile. Be conscious of your body language because it is a non verbal expression which represents you. Maintain eye contact with the camera so that you look straight at the profile viewer in your LinkedIn image. Treat your photoshoot like you did the morning of a school photo day, and practice perfecting natural expressions in the mirror beforehand.
Replicate the professional and business-oriented focus of LinkedIn’s platform in your photo. You want to dress in business attire which reflects the manner of your field of work.
Typically, men’s profile images perform best if they are wearing a dress shirt, blazer or a tie, and blouses and blazers for women. Collared shirts are recommended because in a photo cropped at the shoulder, the professional attire will still show through. Clothing with busy patterns, bright colours and thin fabric are not suitable as it hinders your professional manner, so opt for neutral solid colours. Wearing revealing clothes, distracting jewellery or too much makeup is also undesirable.
Soft, natural lighting emphasises a warm, welcoming look and feel for your photo. This effect lends to a reduced need for after effects and over-editing because it brightens up your face and minimises shadows, which are flattering qualities. Therefore, avoid cloudy, overcast days because there is little direct sunlight to illuminate your face.
LinkedIn has a photo editing feature which you can take advantage of. There are six filters to choose from so you can set a mood with your photo, but be careful not to over saturate the image by turning up the filter to 100% opacity, because you may risk lowering the overall professional feel. There are also adjustments for brightness, cropping, contrast and vignette to help tweak your image to be more clear and attractive.
Don’t take focus away from your photo by having a busy background or distracting subjects in the frame. Where the picture is taken is important because you must ensure you are the focal point. However, it’s best to also avoid plain, boring backgrounds too like a blank white wall. Instead, experiment with taking headshots in various locations just as in front of a building, in a park or office. The goal is to have an interesting but non-distracting background.
Your profile is about you. Don’t include images of pets or children, for example, because you do not share the account with them. Be the only person in the frame- this means photos of you that are cropped from a group picture is undesirable. A solo photo without a random person’s shoulder beside you is optimal for focalising the image on you. If you would like to include a team picture in your profile, consider using it for your banner instead.
LinkedIn profile pictures require more consideration than they seem because selecting the ideal image is one of the first hurdles in attracting prospective employers or new professional networks. Don’t forget that you are marketing yourself- your skills, qualifications and experience, and your profile image should embody this. Take the time to frequently update your photo, look for ways to improve it, and you’ll boost your chances of success!