Having no Profile Picture is an absolute no-no if you want to use LinkedIn for Business Networking. There are endless tips out there for what the perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture should be. Personally – I think only two matter.
You should be Recognisable
Your profile picture is your identity on LinkedIn (much like any other social networking site). Your picture makes your content and updates recognisable visually (and even more so if you have a common name) so that they don’t get lost in the activity feed. Therefore you should be recognisable. The easiest way to ensure this is for the photograph to be a recent and clear headshot photo.
Your Photo should be Professional
In an ideal world the photo you choose should be professional (and many people will reuse the photo they use for their corporate headshot). I often hear/read rants from people about how people shouldn’t wear sunglasses, shouldn’t be on top of a mountain, shouldn’t post a couples photo or a picture of their dog. This list goes on.
But what if you (1) HATE your corporate photo (2) don’t have a professionally shot corporate photo (for example you are a student, entrepreneur or have budget restrictions) or (3) simply want a different (more imaginative) photograph.
It can be done.
Your Photo – On a budget
As our readers include Students and Start-up Entrepreneurs as well as professionals we wanted to include a section on doing your photograph on a budget.
If you want it to look good. The obvious solution is to get a professional photographer to take a photo. As a Student or Entrepreneur it is likely that you will have a varied list of connections – check if any of them are photographers – it may be that they will be willing to help out a contact for free (or at a discount) and get you started (or even do a skills swap).
You don’t necessarily need a big budget.
If you have no budget at all, or can’t call in a favour – why not get a friend with a digital camera or a good smart phone to do it for you and “disguise it” as a professional photograph.
What makes a good professional profile picture for LinkedIn?
- It should be a Headshot. It should clearly frame you head and some of your shoulders. It should NOT be a selfie.
- It should be the right size. A LinkedIn profile picture will be displayed as 200 x 200 pixels. You can of course crop larger photograph afterwards. It should be cropped as a square.
- Your face should be clear of hair (and shadows). You need to be able to see your face, but one thing people forget about it the light. Also don’t forget if it is too bright (or windy) you might squint or pull an awkward face.
- The background should be simple. It is usually best to stand against a wall. If it is busy – a solution might be to ‘blur’ it when editing/cropping the photograph before using it.
- You should wear what you usually wear day to day. Don’t over (or under) dress. Just be yourself and you will seem more relaxed (and more approachable). Feel free to take a number of pictures with different clothes (and different colours) to see what you like best.
- The picture should be well lit but not too bright. You need to be thinking about lighting. Ideally you should choose a location that has decent natural light.
Don’t want to rope in a friend to take the picture for you? Well why not do it yourself with your phone?
Further Reading: How to take your own professional headshot with an iphone.