Linking the Triangle is your local link to the next opportunity. Given that first impressions are important for working relationships (as are optimized profiles, but we’ll touch on that another time), it’s critical that your profile photo be an accurate, professional interpretation of you.
So what does your LinkedIn headshot say about you? Are you youthful and full of energy? A seasoned professional? A friendly matchmaker? The fact is, having the right profile photo will make the difference between securing a new connection and losing out on potential opportunities. We’re not suggesting that you don a tuxedo and mix all personality, but there are certain pieces of this puzzle that you should be aware of before updating your profile.
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Here are some profile photos you’ve likely seen in the wild, and what you should know about how others view it:
The Blurry Photo
No, it’s not your vision going bad. Instead, it’s just an unfocused shot of someone seeking a connection. Would you trust your marketing budget to someone whom you can’t identify? Have a friend take a stabilized photo with a tripod, or take the time to shoot a sharper image on one of the many capable smartphones available on the market.
The Party Photo
There’s a time and place for everything, right? Remember your environment — LinkedIn is the professional’s social media outlet. Don’t post pictures of yourself engaged in activities that you wouldn’t want your boss or coworkers seeing. This holds true for any social media outlet, but is particularly important for LinkedIn. A good rule of thumb is that if you have to ask yourself if it’s appropriate for LinkedIn, it’s probably not.
The Group Photo
Barring posing with someone who is easily identifiable (e.g., the President of the United States), it’s not advisable to post a group photo as your personal profile shot. People want to see who they are connecting with — you, not necessarily your six coworkers. Cropped photos of group pictures are also not recommended. Take the time to get a shot of you, because that’s who the connection is focused on.
The Low Quality/Old Photo
What year is it? Save the vintage Instagram filters for Facebook and Twitter. If your photo is certifiably retro, it’s time for an update. “Throwbacks” show that you’re not keen on staying modern, and business moves at a breakneck pace. And if you’re posting an old photo as a joke, you’re probably not taking the LinkedIn network seriously. That belongs on other outlets.
The Professional Photo
That’s more like it! It’s you — your good side, in a properly lit and controlled environment. You’re wearing nice clothes and look the part of a professional looking to do business. It’s relatable, approachable, and usable in multiple web and print applications.People actually want to connect with you, because you seem to know what you are doing.