When it comes to recruitment, the age-old adage ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ gets thrown out the window. Research shows that simply having a LinkedIn profile photo dramatically increases the chances of recruiters and prospective employers looking at your profile. If we extend that logic – a well-lit, well framed profile picture of a neatly dressed, positive looking person is going to increase those chances yet again.
While a professional photographer might be outside your budget, with a helpful friend, a smartphone and these tried and tested rules, you can create a LinkedIn profile picture that gets you noticed in all the right ways.
Get a friend to take it
If you want to look professional, don’t take a selfie. Get someone – anyone – else to take a photo of you. You’ll probably want a friend to help, that way you’ll feel comfortable spending a little time experimenting with angles, background, lighting and expression. If you really can’t find anyone to help, use a tripod or rest your phone somewhere stable and set a self-timer.
Frame the shot
You’re going to want your head centred, taking up about 60% of the frame – from the chest-up is a good guideline. You should be looking directly at the camera – front-on or at a slight angle – and the camera should be at eye-level, not taking your photo from above or below.
The right light
A little bit of correctly placed lighting goes a long way. You can use lighting to accentuate features, as well as adding warmth to your face. What you don’t want is your face to be in shadow with bright backgrounds, or the cold, harsh hue given off by fluorescent lights. Unless you have access to professional lighting, natural light is your friend. Find a sunlit window to face towards or a well-lit location out of direct sunlight.
No crazy backgrounds
It’s your LinkedIn profile so you should be the centre of attention, not whatever is behind you. When choosing a background, think of something that’s neutral in colour – charcoal grey or blue – or go for a bokeh effect, where the background is out of focus. Don’t go for anything bright or with crazy patterns as that’s only going to draw the viewer’s attention away from you.
You want your profile picture to resemble how you’d look on the first day of work. Hopefully, this means well-groomed and professional. Depending on what industry you’re in, what you wear to work can vary but generally, casual clothes that make you look approachable are a safe bet. Be aware that some patterns/colour combinations, and bright colours don’t translate well in photos. If in doubt, choose something neutral and keep it simple.
And, don’t forget to smile!
Your photo could be your first opportunity to show a potential employer what type of person you are. By smiling, you’re showing recruiters and prospective employers you’re personable and approachable. People are naturally drawn to those who give off a welcoming demeanour over those who seem stern or serious. If you’re self-conscious about forcing a smile, get the photographer to say something to make you laugh.
There you have it – our easy-to-follow guide for taking the perfect LinkedIn profile photo. Time to grab a willing friend, a smartphone and get snapping.