While there are no set-in-stone rules for choosing the perfect profile picture for LinkedIn, it’s important to approach LinkedIn as a professional way of connecting and not just another social media site. While having a picture of you with all your friends at a concert may be appropriate for Facebook, it’s best to opt for something more professional on LinkedIn.
DO: Opt for a plain background.
Keep it simple and minimize distractions by opting for a plain background. Pictures taken outdoors are okay, but you get bonus points for a real professional snapshot.
DON’T: Post a picture of yourself in a bar/club/party/etc.
For obvious reasons, it’s just not professional.
DO: Make sure you’re the only person in the picture.
While it’s common for you to post profile pictures on Twitter and Facebook of you and all your best friends, LinkedIn is not the place for those pictures. Potential employers are seeking out YOUR profile, and want to see YOUR picture.
DON’T: Use a selfie.
We get it, Kim K. While posting selfies has become all the rage nowadays, selfies can sometimes have negative connotations such as narcissism and immaturity. Since selfie taking is such a subjective art, you don’t want to miscommunicate your personal brand with one bad selfie. Try to use your best judgement as to whether or not your selfie communicates professionalism and maturity, but it’s best to just not use one if possible.
DO: Crop the picture so that it’s a good distance from your face.
So, you have this awesome picture of you standing next to the building of your dream workplace, or of you standing on a mountain with vast land in the background. While it’s probably a super cool picture, employers don’t want to see you as a tiny dot in the distance of your photo. Try to make your face the center of the photo with clear details.
DON’T: Visibly crop a friend/other person out of the picture.
This is a SUPER common LinkedIn faux pas, as a majority of college students take hundreds of pictures with their friends, and you’re bound to look nice and professional in at least one of them. However, having a cropped out person in your picture, even if you can only see the tip of their shoulder, is just messy and unprofessional. Try to stay away from using photos where you have to crop out your bestie.
DO: Keep your photos updated.
While LinkedIn isn’t the place for you to change your profile picture on a daily basis based on your mood, you should always try keeping your photos updated as you grow. Your senior pictures from high school may seem professional, but they also will make you seem young.
DON’T: Not have a picture.
Another common faux pas, you are 10x more likely to get a profile click if you have a profile picture (I made that statistic up, but I know that one is out there). However, it IS common sense that you’d much rather view a profile with a nice profile picture than one with a little gray silhouette. Keeping an updated profile picture will make users know that you stay active on LinkedIn and grab the attention of employers.
Since LinkedIn is a professional website with the main focus of connecting professional individuals and searching for jobs, make sure you are treating your LinkedIn as you would a resume, portfolio website or other professional ways of communicating your personal brand. While the CCO is currently working on developing a service to provide professional head shots for students, there are several other ways to get free professional photos taken. Drop into the CCO during drop-in hours or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about your resources for getting the perfect LinkedIn profile picture.