A poor image choice can be damaging to your professional brand, so it’s worth taking the time and effort to get it right.
Here we give you five tips to putting your best face forward online.
1. Look like yourself
LinkedIn is a useful tool for connecting with new people online. Sometimes you’ll meet these new acquaintances in person, so it’s a good idea that the image they were introduced to looks like the real you. Photoshop can be a useful tool, but avoid making dramatic changes to any of your permanent features.
2. Look approachable
LinkedIn is a place where you will be seen by potential employers, employees, business partners, or clients. Try to avoid goofy grins, scary scowls, and power stances; you want to come across as professional, relaxed, and friendly.
This is where a professional photographer can really pay off – they’ll have a good knowledge of suitable poses, and be experienced at making their subjects feel relaxed.
3. Wear an outfit that you’d wear to work
LinkedIn is a professional social networking site, and the clothing you wear in your profile photo should reflect this. If you never wear a suit there’s no need to wear one in your profile photo, just choose an outfit you’d wear to an important meeting or job interview.
4. Be recognisable
Your LinkedIn profile is about you, so make sure you are the main focus of the image. We’re sure that hiking Kilimanjaro was a great experience, but an unrecognisable stick figure at the top of a mountain doesn’t do much to show your professional image. LinkedIn profile photos are quite small, so ensure your head and shoulders fill most of the frame.
If you’re using a professional photographer, make sure you tell them you’re planning to use the photo for LinkedIn so they can shoot the image for a nice square crop.
5. No photos with alcohol, other people, or pets. Oh, and no selfies.
Everyone’s definition of ‘professional’ is different, and if you’re a fun person your photo should reflect that in your expression, your clothing, and your setting. However, you don’t want people to look at your profile and think anything other than you’re a capable business person. Keep your photo simple and you won’t give them a reason to think anything different.