What is the point of your Linkedin.com photo? Setting the right first impression. People will determine if you can be trusted, if you are professional, and even if you will fit in with their company based on your picture. It is what they see before your professional qualifications. Prospective employers and customers will use the impression of you from your photo as a lens they look through when they get down to your professional experience.
Maybe you are thinking – why should I even have a photo? According to Lydia Abbot, Associate Content Marketing Manager & Blog Editor at LinkedIn “just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others”. Let’s go through the top tips on how to make a better impression with your photo.
Location, Location, Location:
Linkedin.com profile picture should be a professional image with only you in the photo. That doesn’t mean to take that photo of you and your spouse at last summer’s wedding and crop your better half out. We can tell and it looks tacky.
It should be in a professional setting. This would include professional studio or a neutral background. This is about your face so you want the eye to be drawn there. What if you are an artist or a travel agent – would something more aligned with your field be better? Maybe or maybe not – but why risk it? Stick to what works. Remember your photo should emphasize you so having your viewer stare at the background behind you doesn’t achieve the goal.
Avoid pictures taken at night, taken in a group setting, taken in the car; they are all not professional.
It’s All About You:
It should show your eyes (no sunglasses) and you should smile so that you can see your teeth. When people can see your eyes and your teeth you come across as honest and genuine. Some even suggest a slight squint in your picture so you don’t get the “doe-eyed deer in the headlights” look.
Ladies avoid shiny face with oil blotting tissues or a heavy coat of translucent powder. Jewelry should be understated and small. Stay away from large pieces that will look dated in 5 years. Diamond studs or pearl studs are classic favorites.
Wear professional clothes for your profession and never wear sleeveless shirts. Stay away from pin stripes or small patterns that can show up as a dizzying effect in pictures. Also stay away from loud colors and loud patterns. Wear a color that contrasts your skin color; if you are fair skinned wear darker clothing and if you have a dark complexion wear something lighter.
Other Traps to Avoid:
Next we have a couple of examples of what you want to avoid. #1 – Linkedin.com isn’t Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Leave family photos to those social media sites. What if this person to left was looking for a job that is based across the country? This can communicate to an employer that this candidate has a young family. Some might assume this person couldn’t relocate or wouldn’t have the time to dedicate to a big assignment, which could cause this person to not get an interview or a consideration for a promotion.
Here in the second example we have a well dressed person that is well groomed. What is wrong? It’s a selfie in the car. Not a professional setting and it looks more like a picture for a dating site than Linkedin.com for a potential employer. #2: No Selfies.
Invest in yourself. Hire a photographer to do some professional head-shots. If you cannot afford a photographer; then please get someone with a good camera (or very good camera phone) to snap a professional photo of you in good light, with a nice smile, wearing nice clothes, against a good neutral background.
You can also submit your photo for free to PhotoFeeler.com and have people rate your photo on competence, likability, and influence.
Good luck job seekers!
~Stephanie Simmons ACC, Career Coach