So you’ve added a solid Summary, Headline, and Experience to your LinkedIn Profile. What’s next?
A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.
If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot.
However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression. These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers):
1 – Choose the right setting for your LinkedIn headshot.
While a relaxed, outdoor scene behind you is perfect if your career is in golf facility management or landscaping, it can look out of place for a professional whose workday is filled with Board meetings or sales calls.
Do you spend your day in a particular type of environment, such as a laboratory, oil field, or data center room? A shot that shows your industry background can draw attention to your area of specialty. The same is true if your career is in a creative field, where either a powerful color can reinforce your creative message.
If you’re aspiring to the corner office, there’s no point in posting a LinkedIn photo of yourself in a bar or casual setting. Most conservative professions, such as Chief Operating Officer, Accountant, or Financial Analyst, attract hiring managers who are somewhat conservative themselves. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with a neutral background that conveys the seriousness required in your field.
2 – Dress for the job you want.
You’ve probably heard this phrase before, and for good reason. Hiring authorities, just like your colleagues and friends, are more likely to be receptive to those who share the same attitude and approach to work.
In addition to looking at ease in your desired job, dressing for success tells others that you’re serious about your professional brand. Therefore, you’ll benefit from mimicking the same type of attire as your bosses and supervisors, starting with the image presented in your LinkedIn photo. As an added bonus, you can adopt the same personal style at work to continually reinforce your message of value.
3 – Look around to get some ideas for your LinkedIn photo.
There’s never been a better way to check out your competition! Surf LinkedIn to see what successful people in your field are wearing – and how they appear to have branded themselves by their headshot pictures. To find these competitors, type your target job title into the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn home page and then click on the list of people who hold this position.
You might notice a common theme among the photos in your industry, such as a plain background, close-up headshot, or conservative suit-and-tie look. Take a few minutes to look at each Profile to examine the industry or company in which they’re employed, as well as any related information about each candidate, such as education or job history. Then, use these findings as a model for your own LinkedIn photo.
4 – Smile!
If you’re wearing a negative expression in your LinkedIn photo, you can be sure others will take note – and possibly refuse to do business with you. In particular, the air of surprise or anger that often accompanies a selfie can damage your personal brand message and put off employers.
While a outsize grin isn’t a LinkedIn necessity, a welcoming smile or pleasant expression can work wonders on your online audience. As with other personal brand elements, you’ll want to select a photo that expresses your unique personality and encourages others to reach out to you.
5 – Get a variety of photos from which to choose for your LinkedIn presence.
No matter if you hire a professional photographer or ask a friend to take some shots in against the backdrop of your choice, you’ll be better equipped to make a strategic decision on your LinkedIn photo with an array of pictures at your disposal. This is a much better option than hunting through your phone for a suitable headshot.
In addition, consider that having more than one great photo available for your Profile will give you with valuable alternatives. If you see a downward trend in the volume of LinkedIn connections, inquiry replies, or message responses you receive on LinkedIn, you can easily switch to another photo to gauge the difference.
A well-thought-out LinkedIn headshot is an important element of your personal and professional brand. Make sure your online photo reflects your strength as a candidate and puts your best foot forward in the job search.