I know, I’ve Blogged about this before but I really can’t emphasize enough how important, important, important your LinkedIn profile picture (avatar) is. LinkedIn is essentially the New Resume. Your photo is the first thing viewers see on your profile. Getting a viewer to spend 5 minutes of their valuable time reading “About Me”, your picture needs to be appealing and professional enough to get their attention.
Here are ten tips to take a good picture for LinkedIn.
1. Hire quality. Spending a few bucks to get a quality pictures for your Resume will dramatically increase your Social Media appearance and contacts.
2. Bring your Game Face to the photo shoot. Don’t be having a bad day. Best to postpone the photo shoot rather than schedule a re-shoot.
3. Dress for your industry. Banking, Finance, Real Estate require a jacket, shirt and tie. Tech, Engineering requires a dress shirt and jacket. Dot-commers should wear a nice polo and maybe a sports coat. Although most Googlers work in their sweats, don’t wear your sweats for the picture.
4. Practice your friendly expressions and smiles in the mirror before the photo shoot.
5. Communicate with the photographer on what you want to convey with your pictures.
6. Be on time or early to the photo shoot. Being late and rushed will show in your pictures.
7. Do what the photographer says. He/She has a better vantage point on what angle will look better.
8. Don’t force your smiles. Keep them genuine and pleasing.
9. Take your time looking at the proofs after the photo shoot. Get objective opinions of what looks good and what doesn’t. Spouses and Mom’s cannot be objective. Friends of friends can usually be a good judge of what looks best.
10. Voice your touch-up requests to the photographer. Essentially getting a good quality LinkedIn picture is a team effort between you and the photographer. Keeping your mouth shut so as not to upset the artist is the best way to upset the photographer. He/She needs to hear what you want done or added or touched-up in the pictures you selected.
Here’s a list of 10 LinkedIn picture fails. I have seen these and more.
1. Blurry, fuzzy or completely out of focus and not in an artistic way. Although as the saying goes: if you write a bad song call it jazz, if you take a bad picture call it art. Your perspective employer will probably relate that to your work ethic.
2. Too dark or too bright. The camera settings were either way off or you’ve been told you look better in the dark (probably by an ex).
3. Classic cheesy background with clouds or neon lights or a fake woodsy outdoor scene.
4. Your Wedding picture with your newlywed cut out.
5. Selffie in front of a smeared spotted mirror or with obvious signs that it’s also laundry day behind you.
6. Pictures of you with your pets. Even if you work in the Animal Health Care industry, avoid posting with Fido.
7. The shot of you doing a shot of Tequila in a college co-ed named Brittany’s cleavage in Cabo over spring break.
8. Over the top artistic rendition of you in stencil, fresco paint, paintbrush or anything that is not an actual picture.
9. Full body pictures at a distance. The thumbs on LinkedIn are so small no one will recognize you.
10. The glamour picture showing off your recent VS purchase. Yes, some people (mostly Women) will post these as their LinkedIn profile picture.
When posting your profile picture on LinkedIn keep this in mind, not only is it the opening line to your Resume, but it is also the back-link pictures from all of your former employers. Whether you have positive or negative feelings towards your former employers, it never hurts to post a confident, relaxed, professional picture that shows them “look what you lost”.