Some ideas are so simple that you feel no one wants you to talk about them, but the simplest things can be easily overlooked. The photo on your LinkedIn profile is one of these details. Most people have a photo, which in itself already puts you ahead of the curve. If you have your photo up what more is there to worry about right? Wrong.
Your photo is actually a lot more important than people give it credit for. Your LinkedIn profile is 11x more likely to be viewed if you include a photo. In Martin Yate’s Knock ‘em Dead series, he states that 90% of HR personnel admit to checking out your social media before they decide to invite you in for an interview, citing LinkedIn as one of the major sources. There are nearly 350 million users on LinkedIn and if your photo is anything less than flattering to your professional image, it is on to the next!
Just like in a job interview or in life you want to put your best face forward. This profile photo is not your opportunity to test out a new look or put forward your sexy side. This is your first impression to the professional world.
See also: Do I Really Need a LinkedIn Profile?
Here are several things you need to consider:
- While a professional headshot would be the optimal option, it’s not feasible or affordable for everyone. Nowadays an iPhone and a kind friend can help you take a photo that is appealing as well as high quality. Add in some good weather and a crisp background, and you’re all set.
- If you need to enhance a photo you already have or resize according to LinkedIn’s requirements, there are plenty of free resources on the web these days to help you do just that, including Gimp, PicMonkey, and Pixlr Editor.
- The size restrictions for a LinkedIn cover photo are 500×500 pixels. This is the optimal recommended size. Avoid going smaller if possible. You want a crisp, high-resolution photo. A pixelated, over exposed, or grainy photo that looks like it came from a milk carton will not do. LinkedIn provides the size requirements for a reason!
- This photo must be a headshot. It’s a small window that LinkedIn provides so you don’t want to try and fit in a full body shot that’s hard to read or decipher. Think shoulders and up, closely cropped, and your face is clearly visible.
- Consider the image you’re trying to portray. Do you really want a picture of yourself holding a beer at a barbecue or making a duck face? Of course not. Make sure your appearance is professional, approachable, and down-to-earth. Just like with your senior photo, solid colors photograph best, as well as solid backgrounds and outdoor lighting.
- Lastly, if you’re someone in a creative field, this is not an opportunity to reinforce that niche. The rules are less stringent for you as far as being buttoned-up and formal, but LinkedIn and the recruiters that use it, still want to see your face, not a caricature or graphic. Links to your work or portfolio will illustrate your skill; leave it out of your photo on this network. The good news for you based on my experience working with advertising agencies, there’s almost always a designer in the studio that fancies him/herself a photographer and is more than happy to take your headshot. Utilize those connections. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Just some tips to keep in mind when evaluating your own profile and photo. An easy thing to gloss over, but actually quite important. Cheese!