These days, more and more employers are looking at your LinkedIn profile to get a feel for how you represent yourself online.
Of course, they’ll use LinkedIn to learn more about your work experience and employment history, your special skills, and your educational background.
However, in a rush to complete their profiles, many people forget the most important thing of all: uploading a professional LinkedIn photo.
While many take the time to carefully scrub their more casual social media profiles of any incriminating photos or posts, it’s just as important that your LinkedIn photo represents who you are as an employee.
Read on to find out — and to get tips on the type of photo you should use.
Why Having a LinkedIn Photo Matters
You know the old saying: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. In today’s world, the majority of “first impressions” take place online.
Potential employers and headhunters don’t have time to call in every applicant for an interview. So, they’ll start to do a little research online to help them find the most qualified ones.
Having a professional LinkedIn photo establishes your credibility immediately. It communicates to employers that you’re available, enthusiastic, and even that you keep your current profiles up-to-date.
It also gives you a chance to highlight certain aspects of your personality. How you stand, your body language, and even the expression on your face all help to send subliminal messages to employers about the type of person you are. In short, having a professional LinkedIn photo helps to control, or at least to influence, employers’ perceptions of you.
Additionally, including a photograph on your LinkedIn profile helps you to build your personal brand, and may even help jog the memory of an employer that has met you before.
Let’s say you connected with a headhunter at a major startup at a conference last year. They may have lost your business card, or you may never have been introduced at all. But when they see that picture, they’ll remember what you spoke about.
Employers are much more likely to reach out to someone they feel they already have some sort of a connection with. Remember, the job search is no picnic for them, either.
LinkedIn Profile Photo Tips
Now that you understand a bit more about why having a professional LinkedIn photo is so important, let’s move on to discussing how you can make your photo stand out.
This one doesn’t require much explanation.
It’s unprofessional. It says that you’re not serious about your job search. It looks like you’re trying to turn your LinkedIn profile into your online dating profile.
Don’t do it.
Go for a Headshot
Your LinkedIn profile photo shouldn’t be a full-body shot. Again, this isn’t your online dating profile.
But more importantly, your LinkedIn avatar will be small. By focusing on just your face, you’ll ensure that employers are able to get a clear picture of your features, which will help to build recognition.
Always be ready for your close-up — avoid shots taken from far away. To accent certain features and to help your face stand out, don’t underestimate the importance of lighting. Again, this is why it’s so important to have professional photos taken.
The light from your cell phone case doesn’t count.
Know What to Wear
We live in an age where people are all about finding new ways to unconventionally market themselves.
But while you might get creative on your resume, in the content of your website, and even during the interview itself, your LinkedIn profile picture isn’t the place to do it.
What you wear in your picture can certainly help you to attract attention — but usually, it’s the wrong kind. Leave the novelty ties, props, and silly expressions at home.
While getting overly creative might be good for a laugh, it will do little to further your job search. It’s best to go for standard business attire in your photo. It’s a good idea to wear a suit jacket and a collared shirt (for both men and women.)
If you’re going to wear a tie, always go for a solid color. Patterns can make someone’s eye jump all over the place. Ladies, make sure you don’t wear any distracting or overpowering jewelry in your photos.
When in doubt, leave it out. Simplicity is key when it comes to LinkedIn profile photo fashion.
Keep It Consistent
Finally, no matter which photo you end up going with, it’s important that you create consistency across social media networks during your job search.
This means it’s a good idea to make your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even author photos for any articles you write, all the same.
The last thing you want to do is muddle your personal branding during your job search.
Have an Expert Take Your Professional LinkedIn Photo
Our final piece of advice is likely our most important one.
While your friends may be able to help you to tweak your resume, find the perfect tie, or practice for that dream interview, don’t rely on them to take your professional LinkedIn photo.
Keep in mind that nearly 120 candidates apply for a single position. To make yourself stand out, and to communicate to employers that you’re taking your job search seriously, you need to hire a professional photographer.
That’s where we come in.
Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you to take the professional LinkedIn photo that will land you the job. Or, follow our three easy steps to book your photography appointment now.
While you’re at it, why not upgrade your other online photos? Who knows what kinds of opportunities your social media profiles may lead to? Make sure you’re taking advantage of all of them with the right profile photo.