People often say that first impressions count. When you’re hoping to find a new job and get noticed by a recruiter or organisation, this is definitely the case. Therefore, it is important to always portray yourself in a positive light, and to promote yourself in the right way.
Whilst choosing a photo for your Linkedin profile may seem trivial, it can help to shape that vital first impression, so it could be more important than you think to select the right one.
To help you post that perfect profile photo, here are some examples that are best avoided, starting with everyone’s favourite:
1) The selfie
Although you may feel a selfie is most flattering, overly-posey selfies – especially those that are airbrushed heavily or feature unrealistic filters – don’t always give off a professional vibe. Keep those ones for Instagram and your camera roll. There is nothing wrong with taking your own picture, but it is important to get the ‘tone’ and style of the photo right. It can look unprofessional if not. We would advise using a set timer on your phone on a stand to capture a photo yourself or, better still, get someone to take a one for you.
2) The Minecraft character
A profile photo that isn’t clear or has poor lighting could suggest to some – considering the rise of ‘catfishing’ in recent years – that your profile might be fake. Worse still, in the context of trying to be noticed for a role – it can come across as unprofessional. In this day and age high-quality images can be taken on your phone, so there isn’t really an excuse for a poor-quality photo. So, always be sure that your picture is of high quality and not pixelated and has natural lighting.
One sure-fire way to put doubt in the mind of potential connections and make them think you might not be who you say you are is by having no photo at all. People want to know who they are talking to of course, so the first thing you should do is change the default image on your profile, even if it is a temporary selfie whilst you wait for a professional headshot to be taken. Something is always better than nothing!
5) The proud pet owner
We all love animal content. But showing off your adorable, fluffy pets on your Linkedin profile is not necessary. Hiring managers and organisations want to connect and work with YOU, not Mr Bigglesworth the Egyptian Sphynx cat. Yes, they’re cute but unless you’re a Vet then we don't recommend it.
6) The party pic
A party, be it one enjoyed with friends, family or colleagues, can be quite a memorable occasion for many reasons. A few (or many) drinks; some great food; a bit of dancing – there is always plenty to enjoy, and it’s likely you’ll want to share the memories with those who couldn’t be there. If so, we’d advise that you keep those party photos to your personal social media.
Party photos, and this can apply to holiday snaps too, may not present you in the most professional light – whether they’re capturing any particularly incriminating moments or not! A good rule of thumb is to think: ‘Would I want my boss to see this?’ If the answer is no, then the photo is likely unsuitable for Linkedin, or any other professional networking space.
8) The dating profile snap
Linkedin profiles and dating profiles do share some similarities, in that both are an opportunity to present yourself in the best, most attractive way to capture someone’s attention. But of course, the audiences – and end goal – of each are very different!
When it comes to getting noticed in a professional space, what’s most important are your values, skills and personality, and not your appearance. That’s not to say you shouldn’t look good, smart, presentable and approachable in your Linkedin photo, because you do need to give a good impression, but be sure to remember you don’t need to catch the eye for quite the same reasons you would on a dating profile, so choose your picture accordingly.
There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach to choosing the right photo for your Linkedin profile photo – after all, we’re all individuals and should be treated and celebrated as such. However, there are a few tips you could follow to help get the style and tone just right, and present yourself in the best, and appropriate way.
We recommend always ensuring your photo is clear, bright and of good quality, taken from chest height or from the shoulders up. The clothing you wear should be appropriate for work, and/or suitable to your field of work/expertise. Whilst remote or hybrid workers are often allowed to wear casual clothing, we suggest wearing something that would be suitable for office environments – think more smart casual. Try to avoid distracting backgrounds, and make sure there’s only you in the photo – remember, those who don’t know you won’t know who you are in a group shot!
Oh, and don’t forget to smile! It really does make a big difference.