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We understand that many people may not feel comfortable displaying their photo for a variety of different reasons. However, if you are looking for a new job, you are missing out on a great opportunity to create a human connection and a positive first impression by not having a profile picture. Studies show that profiles with pictures are seven times more likely to be viewed on LinkedIn than those without. Additionally, having a photo when you reach out to old colleagues and schoolmates will help them remember who you are and how they know you.
2. Using a Full Body Shot
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Not only is it important to have a photo, but you should be able to recognize the person in the photo right away. Like your driver’s license or your passport, you only have a small square frame to showcase your profile photo on LinkedIn. By using a full body picture, you are making it more difficult for people recognize you. We recommend either a headshot or a photo from your shoulders up.
3. Covering Part of Your Face
Along with having a photo that clearly shows your face, you want to make sure it shows your whole face. That means you don’t want a photo that is too close and/or crops off part of your face. The best profile photos have the face centered and fully showing. This means no hats, sunglasses, or other items that may cover part of your face.
4. Having Other People or Animals in the Picture
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The purpose of LinkedIn is to help you connect with other professionals. Your profile should represent you and only you. Including other people in your picture will make it harder to identify which person in the photo is you.
5. Cropping or Photoshop People Out of a Photo
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Don’t crop yourself out of a group picture, or Photoshop people out of your photo for any reason. It’s rare the end result will look like an unedited photo.
6. Featuring Opinionated Affiliations (sports, politics, etc.…)
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As LinkedIn is a place for professional connections, we strongly recommend you do not display imagery that can be considered polarizing. Not only is it unprofessional, but you may risk losing out on opportunities or connections that don’t agree with your opinions.
7. Looking Unapproachable
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It’s just as important to look profession in your photo as it is to look approachable. As we mentioned previously, your profile photo is an opportunity to make a positive first impression. Your photo should invite people to want to learn more about you, not scare people away.
8. Using a Selfie
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As trendy as they are, selfies do not make good profile photos. Current smartphones take great pictures, so ask a friend to take your photo. This will ensure the distance and angles will be appropriate.
9. Having a Distracting Background
We have already discussed that you should be the focus in your headshot. You should also have a background that is relatively neutral, so avoid standing in front of anything that is too distracting or you may get lost in. You want to highlight yourself, not the location you’re in.
10. Not Dressed to Reflect the Industry/Profession
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Keep in mind that your profile photo is a reflection of your personal brand. Whether it be a traditional corporate environment or a more casual start-up culture, you want your photo to reflect the industry you are targeting.
Bonus: How to pick an appropriate cover photo.
Ever noticed the banner on the top of your profile page? You can customize that too! Having a personalized background photo is another great opportunity for you showcase your expertise, style, or personality. We suggest keeping it simple, relevant, and something that does not clash with your profile photo. (Need ideas? Here is a free link to get you started.)
If you follow these guidelines, you will be all set to make a great impression on LinkedIn!