13 Tips for Choosing Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

Your profile photo on LinkedIn is VERY important.

Did you know that profiles with photos attract between 50-70% more inquiries than profiles without photos?

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”.

We’ve all heard the expression and, while sometimes you may have an opportunity to interact with the other person in a way that outweighs the first impression, when it comes to job searching or advancing your career, you’re rarely afforded those opportunities and your first impression is likely to be lasting, if not permanent.

Of course, you know this, right? It’s why you check and double check your appearance in the mirror before you walk into an interview. It’s also why you practice your smile, your handshake, and your answers to common interview questions, all in order to make a first impression that dazzles the interviewer and lands you the job of your dreams!

That’s the idea, anyway. There are, however, other ways to make a first impression, even without knowing it. Your profile photo on your LinkedIn profile is one of those ways.

The potential harm to your personal and professional reputation which can be caused by posting inappropriate items or photos on Facebook, Twitter and the like are well-known,

Less obvious but no less relevant to our discussion is your LinkedIn profile. Given that employers, recruiters and professionals alike use LinkedIn extensively, your LinkedIn profile–and your LinkedIn profile photo–have the potential to make countless first impressions which, if unfavorable, you may never have the opportunity to rehabilitate.

Here then, are some key tips for your LinkedIn profile photo:

LinkedIn Profile Headshots on Bulletin Board
  • Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because their profile photo is from several years ago.

  • Use a photo of you in your profile — don’t use a photo of an object. Also, don’t use an avatar or cartoon photo (like a Bitmoji). Use a real photo of you.

  • Your photo should include your head and shoulders, not just a close-up of your face. Experts advise your face should take up 60-75% of the frame. Do not use a full body photo.

  • Don’t include other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your LinkedIn photo!).

  • Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting. Plain backgrounds are better.

  • Look directly at the camera. A smile can help you radiate warmth and approachability in your photo.

  • Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but muted (tan or light olive green) or jewel tones (dark green, navy, or burgundy) will draw attention to you, not your clothes. Above all, avoid patterns.

  • Your photo doesn’t need to be professionally done, but it should look like it was! If you’re not using a professional camera, use a cell phone that takes high quality, high resolution photos. If the photo looks blurry when you upload it, choose a different one.

  • Experiment with LinkedIn filters. When you upload your photo to LinkedIn, you can apply different filters. See which one you like best. You can also adjust brightness and contrast in the photo uploader.

  • Take multiple shots and ask people their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.” Consider using a website like photofeeler.com to choose your photo.

  • Don’t use an inappropriate photo. (If you have to ask if it’s inappropriate, don’t use it.)

  • Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. No t-shirts. No busy or crazy patterns.

  • Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts. No big or busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Long sleeves are best so you’re not drawing attention to your bare arms — instead, you want them to notice your face. (Bare arms also appear “bigger.”)

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