LinkedIn continues to be one of the fastest-growing social media networks. It provides instant access to like-minded professionals who are interested in connecting and partnering up with other professionals. LinkedIn is a must for all working professionals in business today.
But how many bad headshots or “profile pictures” do you still see of professionals with LinkedIn profiles? Haven’t they heard a picture is worth a thousand words? Might there be an “Awkward LinkedIn Pictures” book in the works?
Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out in your career, LinkedIn is your chance to shine professionally to people who may not know you—and first impressions are everything!
Here are six tips for better headshots or “profile pictures” on LinkedIn.
Get a professional or semi-professional headshot. Your face is your opener, so make it count. Too many people snap a casual mobile pic, copy something from Facebook or scan a wedding pic and use that for a profile picture. Find someone who knows how to use a Digital SLR camera, whether it’s Uncle Ernie the Shutterbug or your neighborhood fashion photographer, and book some time with them to get a decent professional shot.
Be genuine. Let yourself shine through in your headshot. Smile, but don’t be creepy. And don’t be a sour-puss. Look like someone you would want to do business with.
Be contemporary. Don’t use your yearbook headshots with 80s hair, velour jackets and paisley shirt. Make sure that your picture reflects the times we live in so people want to connect with you. Leave “flashback” photos to Facebook.
Be experienced. If you are baby-faced, use a black and white image and look earnest. B&W images make young-looking folks look more seasoned, trusted and knowing.
Be the face of your industry. Look the “look” of your industry. Are you a financier, underwriter or lawyer? Then wear a tie. Are you in advertising or PR? Go for business casual with a flash of creative hipster. Academic or doctor? Perhaps don a V-neck sweater, blazer and some glasses? The point is, if you are trying to make an impression in your industry, dress the part.
Finally, don’t be goofy. Leave the goofy headshot for Facebook. And don’t use a vacation picture, wedding picture, group shot, family picture or a picture of yourself enjoying a cocktail — it sends the wrong message. I’ve seen profile pictures on LinkedIn of people juggling, riding camels, posing with Mickey Mouse, appearing topless and holding a martini glass. And sometimes, it’s unintentional — like the “mystery arm” of another person who was “cut” from the picture — so check the background of your picture, too, before posting it to your profile.
Do you have other pointers? Send them along to @tmunroe