You may know that LinkedIn is a top hot spot for job seekers and hiring managers. In fact, this is one of the social media platform’s biggest roles—77 percent of all jobs are posted on LinkedIn, according to SocialMediaToday.
But you may not realize the value of a good LinkedIn profile photo. It’s way more influential than your Facebook profile photo, and it generally should be very different.
In a May 2012 article on BusinessInsider.com, a study employing an eye tracking heatmap reveals that recruiters spend 19 percent of their total time on your profile just looking at your picture.
That same year, LinkedIn revised the look of profiles on the site to enlarge the size of the headshot. As LinkedIn stated in a blog published in January 2015, “if you have NO picture, the odds of getting a profile view are lower than if you had a nice professional picture with a SMILE!”
The absence of a profile photo on LinkedIn arouses suspicions in potential employers. And it can create confusion for connections who are planning to meet up with you in real life or who want to follow up online after a real-world meeting.
So a good LinkedIn profile photo is important. But please, back away from the selfie stick!
The key to a good LinkedIn profile photo is professionalism. No tank tops, no dogs, no kids, no exceptions. Think about what you’re communicating with your image.
The ideal picture is a crisp, clear, well-lit, professional headshot. But if that’s not in your budget, at least be sure that your photo is bright and in focus. Use a plain background—a vacation destination sends the wrong message, and other backdrops can be busy and distracting.
Keep your spouse, friends, kids and pets out of the picture, and don’t use a photo from which you’ve cropped them. (It’ll be obvious.) They’re not doing the work and have no bearing on your skills for the role.
For a good LinkedIn profile photo, wear something simple, neat and, once again, professional. Be sure the neckline is high enough to be visible when the photo is cropped to just above your shoulders. Because you will crop this photo so that your face fills the frame. Don’t make recruiters squint to see your little pea head off in the distance!
A good LinkedIn photo is current—no more than two years old. Your goal is to get an interview, right? If your photo is from 15 years ago or your appearance has recently changed radically, the interviewer will wonder whether you were trying to be deceptive.
Finally, consider your expression. You want to exude pleasantries and calm confidence. Bright eyes and a warm (but not aggressive or suggestive) smile are reassuring. Here’s where the selfie stick can come in handy—use it to practice your gaze before you get in front of a photographer, and think of a mood that will help you re-create the right visage at the appropriate time.
Don’t skip the LinkedIn profile photo just because the only picture that you like features you on a beach with a Bahama Mama in your hand. It could be the difference between you and another potential candidate. Instead, spend a bit of time to get a photo that captures your capable intelligence and invites employers to learn more about you.
Photo by Nicola Perantoni