You never get a second chance to make a first impression. The profile picture you have on your LinkedIn profile is your first chance to make a lasting impression. Before exchanging E-mails, phone or face-to-face interviews, your connections will see your profile photo, and unlike with interviews, a photograph cannot defend your character. Having a professional profile picture is just as important as your keyword placing or your previous work experience. A recruiter wants to put a face to the name and get a feel for the type of person you are before making the first contact. Your photograph is a representation of who you are; your character, personality and confidence.
Creating the optimal profile picture
Your LinkedIn profile reflects you not only as a person, but as a prospective job candidate. Remember, though LinkedIn is a social network, it is solely for professional use and your profile photo should reflect that. If you don’t have the time and money to invest in a professional photographer these few tips will help you get started in producing a top notch portrait!
Use a recent photograph
Do: Use a recent photograph. It’s cute to post #tbt photographs from your trip to Paris with your grandparents on Instagram, but recruiters don’t want to see that. Update your profile photo frequently and always keep it recent.
Don’t: Letting the “no photo” shadow guy lurk around your profile is no good! Recruiters spend more time on profiles including photos than on those without. Not only does it show you don’t care, it shows that maybe you’re the kind of person who starts a job and doesn’t finish it, or worse, someone who doesn’t do the very best in everything they do. Put a face to your name, no one wants to hire a ghost!
Dress to impress
Do: Your clothing should be business casual. You want to look relaxed and confident in your photo and if you’re wearing something you usually wouldn’t wear, your photograph won’t represent your true self. Ladies, stick to black or soft greys. For men, soft coloured shirts with little or no patterns are a safe way to go.
Don’t: T-shirts, jerseys or dress shirts with patterns and bright colours are no place for your LinkedIn profile. Ladies, be careful about exposing too much skin. You want to exhibit a professional, goal driven and qualified candidate. If your grandmother wouldn’t approve of your outfit, chances are recruiters won’t either!
Find a simple background
Do: Keep the background simple with yourself as the only subject in the photograph.
Don’t: Say goodbye to that photograph among the autumn leaves! If objects in the background take the viewer’s eye away from the subject, it’s a problem. Chose a light, clean background that keeps the subject, (you!) in focus. We know you love your cats, we love ours too, but they have no place in a LinkedIn profile picture. You should be the only subject in your photograph. And this doesn’t mean cropping out your friends from a group photo. No pets, friends or family members allowed!
Do: Take time with your photograph. Make sure the lighting is right, highlighting your face and smile. Use a camera that supports high quality photographs to produce a crisp, focused image. Even if it takes multiple shots to get the perfect photo, your effort and dedication will show in the result.
Don’t: Whatever you do, don’t upload a grainy, pixelated or unfocused image! This only shows the recruiter that you’re not serious about your career. If you don’t care about your image, this only tells employers that you won’t put in the effort to do your job to the best of your ability.
Do: Smile! Be upbeat and enthusiastic. Your energy will come across through your photograph whether it’s good or bad! Make sure you’re sending out positive vibes.
Don’t: That photograph you have from the pool party last weekend should stay in your mobile album! Be professional and keep party photos between friends. A photograph holding a cigarette or beer bottle doesn’t only send out a negative message, it tells an employer you don’t take your future seriously.
We hope these little tips have given you the tools to improve your LinkedIn profile picture and the confidence to get out there and start your job search! If you’ve got any more tips to share with us, please leave a comment below! We love hearing from our readers.