If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then your LinkedIn profile shot must be nearly as important as the profile itself; you want a compelling resume and some judicious keywords, sure, and ideally you’ll have endorsements aplenty… but if you’ve also got a lackluster or unprofessional photo, then all your optimization efforts may be for nothing.
Some of the basics of LinkedIn profile photos you probably know: Get a professional headshot, if possible. It’s a worthy investment in your career. And always avoid photos that look like they were taken on Spring Break. “Slovenly” and “dead-drunk” are not the adjectives you want people assigning to your LinkedIn page!
But even beyond these basics, there is much strategy that goes into selecting the best LinkedIn profile picture—and if you select carefully, you can get a picture that actually enhances your career prospects rather than holding you back.
Acing Your LinkedIn Profile Pic
Appear approachable. Yes, you want to come across as professional, and no, you don’t want to look like you’re at a frat party… but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer a smile or try to convey some warmth and friendliness. Remember that people are looking not only at your skills and credentials, but also at what kind of a co-worker you’d be—and nobody wants an unapproachable colleague.
Don’t be upstaged in your own photo. Including a photo you took during your trip to the Eifel Tower is fine, but make sure it is a picture of you—not a picture of the Tower in which you happen to be waving in the background.
Be truthful. It’s the same advice you’re given when you pick a shot for your online dating profile: Don’t misrepresent yourself by picking a photo that’s 30 years old! You don’t want recruiters to be shocked or caught off guard when you go in to meet with them in person.
Dress code matters. You know that old advice about dressing for the job you want? Well, it applies to your LinkedIn profile picture.
Avoid selfies. Even if you’re a particularly good self-photographer, it’s usually pretty evident when a photo is a solo job—and there’s still a great deal of stigma attached to selfies. Avoid any unwanted connotations by getting someone else to take your photo.
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