Your photo is a very important part of your LinkedIn profile for a number of reasons. When you meet a LinkedIn contact in person for the first time, they will be able to recognize you because of your photo.
When you send a LinkedIn invitation to connect with someone you already know, they will feel comfortable accepting the invitation because they recognize your face. Finally, a photograph humanizes your profile, and makes you appear more approachable. Incorporating a quality photo into your LinkedIn profile will help you make the right impression and maximize the number of people who view your profile.
Here are tips on how to take and select the best LinkedIn profile photo.
Pick the Right Photographer. You do not need to hire a professional photographer. Simply ask a friend or family member (who knows how to handle a camera) to take several shots of you. Select someone who can make you smile in a natural way. A warm, friendly smile will make you look accessible, and encourage others to engage with you. Have the photographer (and a few other friends, if possible) look at the photos and ask them which photo makes you seem the most accessible.
If someone else is not available to take the photo, you can take a webshot of yourself using your computer’s camera (if you have one). But do not take the photo yourself using your phone or a handheld camera – self-photos often appear unprofessional.
Pick a Head Shot. Because profile photos appear as small thumbnails on LinkedIn, your photo should be of only your head, neck, and a bit of your shoulders. If you include your entire body, your head will appear too small, and viewers may not be able to recognize you.
Dress Professionally. Since LinkedIn is a professionally oriented platform, make sure that your photo depicts you in a manner appropriate for your field. Typically this means a dress shirt or blouse, a shirt and tie, or even a suit. Choose solid dark colors like blue or black. Avoid white; it can make you appear washed out. Avoid wearing a strapless dress or top; if you are showing your shoulders in the picture, a strapless top will make you appear naked (and definitely unprofessional)!
Dressing professionally also means dressing cleanly and simply: avoid wearing too much makeup, or any over-the-top, distracting hairstyles and jewelry.
Keep it Simple. Your photo should be of you, and only you. Do not include objects, pets, or children. Avoid busy backgrounds as well – standing against a solid-colored, light background is best.
Select a Current Photo. Do not include a dated photo. Use a current picture so people aren’t surprised when they meet you in person.
Be Consistent. When developing your professional online brand, consistency is key. Therefore, it is a good idea to use the same photo for all your professional and social networking profile pictures. This will make you more easily recognizable.