Your LinkedIn photo is the first thing that a prospective employer sees when viewing your profile – and like it or not, employers may make assumptions about you based on face value. Research has found that if a first impression is obtained via a photo it is likely to stick, even after you meet in person. That's why it is important that your LinkedIn photo effectively represents your personal brand, and sends the right message in terms of your skills and employability. It is hard to know where to start when preparing your LinkedIn photo, as there is a lot riding on it – an inappropriate photo can sabotage your opportunity to land your dream role. To help you get it right the first time, and increase your chances of success, we have put together a few tips and tricks so you can make a good first impression:
Get the right perspective
A long range or full body shot is not going to work – you need to ensure that your face is highly visible so people can get a sense of your personality and character. Aim for your face to take up at least 60% of the frame, and crop the photo from just below your shoulders to just above your head.
Looking ‘natural' may sound easy, but it is harder than you think! You need to choose the right expression in your photo – it is important to smile and look friendly, but you don't want to have a cheesy grin and look unauthentic. Make sure you look warm and approachable, but ensure you keep your expression genuine.
Get your photo outfit sorted
Your outfit says a lot about you – you need to ensure you wear clothes that you would usually wear to work. This may vary from industry to industry, as it may be best practice for employees in particular sectors to wear a suit and tie, however in other industries the dress code may be more relaxed. Dress for the role you want, and remember, solid colours work best on camera, so keep it simple and stay away from busy patterns.
Get your background and lighting right
You want the focus to be on you, so choose a background that is not distracting. If all else fails, a white background can work well, but if you choose to be more adventurous, make sure your background doesn't detract from the photo. You also need to ensure you have good lighting, so your face is visible and clear.
Don't use a group shot
Don't default to a holiday, wedding, mountain climbing or any other photo that is not fit for purpose. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is using a group shot where other people have obviously been cropped out – this looks clumsy and unprofessional.
Make sure you look like you
It is important to make sure your photo looks like you! Your prospective employer will formulate an impression of who you are, and if you turn up to the interview looking completely different to your photo, you may throw them off and seem unauthentic.
No selfies – unless you are an expert
It is tempting to take a selfie for your LinkedIn shot – don't do this unless you are a selfie expert, as all too many times we have seen LinkedIn selfies go wrong! Selfies can look unprofessional if you don't take them correctly, so find a friend or a colleague that is able to take the shot for you if you are not confident – or even better, invest in a professional to capture your shot.
Optimising your LinkedIn profile means reviewing your personal brand. Read our tips on how to stand out with a personal brand that rocks.