LinkedIn Profile Pictures: Master Your Image

Picture Perfect: Why a LinkedIn Cover Photo is Essential for Your Professional Branding

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Is yours? Does your LinkedIn profile picture say the words you wish to convey to a prospective employer?

An active Linkedin profile with a photo gets 21x more views and 9x more connections. Therefore, you want your photo to do you justice so you capture the attention of a scrolling recruiter or hiring authority. After all, LinkedIn is the place to be when making business connections.

Your picture is the first thing one sees when checking out your profile. I discuss several benefits of having a picture on your LinkedIn profile later on, but for now, let’s examine some tips to make you picture-perfect.

Pictures Perfect Profiles – 5 Tips

  1. The background should be clean – When people look at our photo, they look at everything, including the background.  A messy or busy backdrop will send the wrong message and take the focus off you. Use a simple, clean background like a wall or plain curtain. This is the best choice. You can also use a hazy environmental background.  For example, a CEO could use a boardroom for their background. Just be sure it is something complimentary and is not a distraction from you. If you take the photo yourself, ensure you are in portrait mode.
  1. Use clean, soft lights – Proper lighting is everything when taking a photo. Use natural light from an indirect window to keep a professional vibe. You want to be seen in the best light possible, not dark shadows. Avoid direct sunlight or harsh fluorescent lights. The most flattering lighting is soft lighting, which makes you look your best.
  1. Dress appropriatelyDressing appropriately speaks volumes about you and is a significant factor in deciding whether you are considered for a job. Keep it simple with little jewelry and no wild patterns or logos. You can’t go wrong by wearing blue. Blue is flattering and makes you appear friendly and approachable.
  1. Smile – Sounds easy, but some of us need to remember to do this. You want your smile to come across as genuine and natural. A fake, big toothy smile is a facade, and viewers know it. Smiles that show teeth were rated twice as likable as closed-mouth smiles. Therefore, practice finding your genuine smile, and you will appear personable.
  1. Mistakes to avoid
  • No selfies – LinkedIn is a professional website, so you want your picture to look the part. If you take this photo yourself, use a tripod to appear as professional as possible.

  • Look at the camera – You want direct eye contact so viewers will feel a connection with you. Do not look sideways or off in the distance.

  • Hands down – Keep your hands away from your face because it will detract from your face

  • Take a wide-angle picture – LinkedIn profile pictures are usually round. Your photo is probably square or rectangular. Therefore, you will lose some space, so leave plenty of room around your head. Also, after uploading the photo to LinkedIn, crop the image tightly so your face is all in the image. The tighter, the better.

  • No repurposing – Never take an old picture and try to crop it or cut people out of it. You may like the photo of yourself, but editing it will look amateurish.

  • No filters – Editing and enhancing your picture is tempting, but people want the real you. A soft, natural appearance is optimal.

Professional LinkedIn Profile Photos: 4 More Tips

If you can afford to have a professional photo taken, by all means, do so. It will cost you between $200-$400, but it will be worth every cent. If you cannot afford to have your picture taken by a professional photographer, here are some tips on capturing a professional one yourself.

  1. Make sure your picture is current and up to date. If you change your appearance drastically or if it is ten years old, it is time for an update. You want the employer to be able to recognize you when they meet you in person.

  2. A high-resolution image should always be used. The ideal size for your LinkedIn profile picture is 400 x 400 pixels. Obviously, larger file sizes are fine (although 8MB is the max), but avoid small, low-resolution images. Never take a picture of a picture and try to use it. It will appear blurry or grainy.

  3. No group photos should be used. You should be the one and only in your headshot! Avoid cropping a photo you may be in with other people because an arm or hand may pop through and spoil the image. You may use the group photo for your banner image if you like.
  1. Ask for assistance when taking the picture. Your phone is fine to use, but have someone else take the picture. Generally, phones’ front-facing cameras take lower-quality selfies than their rear-facing cameras. The person taking your picture will be able to direct you into the perfect pose so that the image will be more professional.

Cover Your Bases: The Importance of a LinkedIn Cover Photo

A photo on your LinkedIn profile page has many benefits, but here are a few of the most important ones:

  • Lends credibility – In today’s workplace, employers expect you to have some ability with social media and know how to upload your picture. Those profiles with no image are typically outdated, inactive, or scammers. Recruiters will not give them a second look. 
  • Easy Recognition – Someone you met at a meeting or previous job may be able to find you by seeing your photo on LinkedIn. Your name may be similar to others, but your picture will stand out.
  • Consistency – Those that follow you on other social media sites will be able to find you on LinkedIn and follow you there. Your pool of followers will grow continuously.
  • Personal Appeal – Let’s face it, profiles with a photo are so much more appealing than those without. Your chances of having a recruiter click on your profile are much greater when your smiling face is present.
  • Creating a personal brand – Using the same photo on all your professional network sites will quickly become your brand image, and you will be noticed wherever your image appears.

Concluding – Beyond First Impressions

Your profile picture on LinkedIn should communicate your value, skills, and professional identity. Having a professional profile picture is a crucial part of a LinkedIn profile, and it can significantly impact your professional brand and online reputation. A profile picture should be high-quality, professional, and reflect your brand accurately. An attractive profile picture can help you attract employers or clients, make a positive first impression, and increase visibility. Therefore, a suitable profile picture that aligns with your career goals and professional image is a wise investment in your career success.

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