Linkedin is a portal for professionals and is an online business network. This makes it different from purely social sites, such as Facebook or Instagram. Your Linkedin profile is your digital identity; that tiny square image is your first impression and might determine whether or not you are chosen by employers.
14 times more visits & 36 times more chances to receive a message with a professional headshot
Linkedin profiles with professional headshots receive roughly 14 times more profile views and are 36 times more likely to receive a message on Linkedin. It’s important to look professional, hard-working and approachable.
Striking the balance between a social site and a professional recruitment platform can be difficult, so we’ve put together some tips on how to take a Linkedin profile picture that is guaranteed to attract attention (in all the right ways!). For more examples, you can also check out a similar article on the Think Bespoke blog on LinkedIn content.
1. Look approachable
Of course, your picture should be professional, and not like a Tinder profile picture! However, professional doesn’t mean serious. Try to look genuine, and not super serious and intense, which sometimes makes people look angry!
2. Take a headshot
Your face should occupy 60% of the space
Your Linkedin photo is non-clickable, it is therefore important that your face occupies 60% of the space. Don’t choose a picture taken far away on a mountain top! Show them your professional potential with a cracking smile!
3. Pick an up-to-date photo
We’ve all seen those photos on social media that were taken decades back and then seen them in person only to find out they look completely different!
Make sure your photo was taken in the past few years and reflects how you look on a daily basis (glasses, make-up, hair, etc.)
4. Choose the right expression
Unsurprisingly, a smiling person is more likely to attract someone’s attention than a cold looking person. The same goes for a photo.
A recruiter will be more easily seduced by a photo of someone radiating warmth and a happy aura, than a stern, serious-looking person.
It’s important to appear warm and friendly, so remember to smile with your eyes! You don’t have to grin like the Cheshire Cat if that feels unnatural, but also, don’t look too serious!
Taking the perfect headshot is a difficult task and this seems like a fine balance to strike, but don’t worry, a good corporate photographer will guide you through the process.
The photographer will try to make you smile or even laugh so that your smile is natural and candid.
5. Wear your usual attire
Whether you’re CEO of a big company or an employee in a startup, you should wear clothes that you would wear in your workplace.
Think of what you wear to work, as well as what best reflects your business and its values.
Be careful, however, as fine lines and patterns can "go wrong" in photos: LinkedIn's image is small, your favorite orange and purple patterned t-shirt might not be appreciated as much by someone viewing your profile!
Depending on in which sector you work, you might favor a black and white headshot. Take this into account when you get dressed in the morning and if you have doubt, we recommend taking a few pictures of yourself in the mirror at home, so that you can change your chosen attire doesn’t come out well on camera.
6. Take the photo straight on
Of course, the photographer should know what they are doing: The camera should be at eye level, not too high and not too low of an angle.
In terms of what you can do… It’s important to look directly into the camera lens and try to relax as the photographer snaps.
A tip for very tall people, who are so often photographer from too low an angle (giving them a double chin), widen the space between your legs as much as possible, this will make you appear shorter (this is the easier alternative to squatting and will not make your face look strained either!)
In terms of posture, you should stand up straight and remember not to be too casual, nor too serious. You want to appear professional, but also show that you are human and friendly underneath your professional exterior.
Feel free to tell the photographer which is your “better side” or if you have a feature you don’t want to be seen in your headshot, or if, for example, you don’t like your teeth, the photographer will make you smile with your mouth closed.
A LinkedIn profile photo is an integral part of your "professional branding", so it's important that you like the photo.
The Careerstone Group blog has two excellent articles with tips on how to present yourself professionally with photography, and this subject in general.
1. Don’t take selfies
These are barely socially acceptable on other social media sites such as Instagram or Facebook, let alone on Linkedin! It’s imperative that your photo matches the professionalism of the networking site Linkedin.
2. Don’t use filters
Avoid filters at all costs. They detract from your picture, making it harder for employers to find out who you are.
3. Don’t crop a group picture
A cropped photo of you at a party is not professional, it shows a lack of commitment, instead of the best, professional version of yourself that you should be showing at all times on LinkedIn
4. Don’t have a distracting background
If you’ve managed to perfect your genuine, approachable face, why let it go to waste with a garish backdrop? Keep the background simple, so that the person focuses purely on your face. The background is extremely important, as a bad background can completely change someone’s opinion and even distract from the subject. Don’t let your newly perfectly, approachable face go to waste by having a garish backdrop.
A plain backdrop is recommended in most cases - a soft charcoal grey or oxford blue. However, if you want to make it a little more interesting you could use a bokeh backdrop. This is where the background of a photo is blurred substantially to create a soft, compelling, deliberately out-of-focus effect, that doesn’t distract from the subject
5. Don’t incorporate hobbies into your photo
Future employers may be impressed by your hobbies and interests, however, there is a specific area dedicated to this on your profile. Don’t use your profile photo as an opportunity to show your diverse side. K.I.S.S - Keep It Simple Stupid!
Investing in a profile photo is your chance to increase your profile viewings and response rates. That little square can determine who views your profile, allowing you to show them your friendly, engaged and hard-working personality. Following these steps will help you build your personal brand and make you stand out from the crowd!