The “do”s and “don’t”s of your LinkedIn profile photo

If you’re a current or past business student, you’ve probably heard all about LinkedIn and why it’s the “place to be” for anyone in a professional job. I know that when I was in school, the powers of LinkedIn were drilled into me from practically day 1, and I’ve been on the site frequently ever since then.

Some people, however, are introduced to the platform with no real knowledge of what it’s used for, other than it’s the “professional Facebook”, which is where I start to see some… interesting profiles and profile pictures.

I find that LinkedIn is really under-utilized by people who might not have had the access to it that I have, especially those who it could benefit most: students looking for jobs!

Now of course there’s a ton of information I could share on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, but for now I’ll start with the “do”s and “don’t”s of your LinkedIn profile picture.

Profile Picture “Do”s

DO have a photo

Ok this one might seem obvious, but it’s important to have a photo, especially if you have a common name. Having a photo helps people differentiate you, and they’re more likely to connect with you. How many times have you remembered someone’s face, but can’t for the life of you remember their name? It happened to me just yesterday! Having a profile photo, no matter what it is (but we’ll get into that later), is important because it can help people identify you. Like when you’re at networking events. People might not remember your name or what you do, but if you send them a request on LinkedIn and they recognize your face, they’re more likely to accept.

DO have a photo that looks like you

Piggybacking off of the last statement, your photo should look like you. This means a recent photo that represents who you usually are. So no overblown makeup (if that’s not your thing), same or similar haircut, glasses/no glasses, that kind of thing. Your appearance will change as you age, so it’s important to have a photo where you can be recognized. Like I said before about having a photo at all, it’s important that people be able to recognize you based on your photo, oftentimes that’s all they have to go by!

DO use a good quality photo

Back before LinkedIn changed their entire UI, it was super easy to tell who had updated their profile photo in a while because the dimensions for photos had changed. If your photo was too small, it wouldn’t fit the entire box. Needless to say it looked unprofessional and “deserted wasteland”-ish because you obviously hadn’t been on the platform in months, if not longer.

Now it’s harder to tell because the UI changed profile photos to circles instead of squares, but you can still tell when someone’s photo is old because it’s pixellated. Sure, they might have a photo, but it’s either zoomed out or you can’t even tell who the person is!

Profile Picture “Don’t”s

DON’T use a selfie

I really feel like this shouldn’t need to be said. LinkedIn is a professional network, not Facebook or your Snapchat. If you’re looking for a job or to expand your network, you want to use a professional image of yourself, not a selfie you took in the mirror last Thursday when your hair was #onfleek.

DON’T use a group photo

Real talk here, I used to be on Tinder. The most annoying thing on the platform was when people used group photos for all of their photos. WHICH ONE ARE YOU? Same thing goes for LinkedIn – this isn’t a group LinkedIn account, it’s your LinkedIn account. There’s plenty of room to post your group photos on your profile without having it your profile photo.

DON’T use a passport photo

Don’t laugh, I just saw it while scrolling through the “people you may know”. Again, this goes back to the whole networking aspect of LinkedIn. Who would you rather connect with, someone whose photo was bright and they looked happy and energetic, or someone who looks like they might be a serial killer in their spare time? Ok, that might sound harsh, but from personal experience passport photos are literally the worst you could ever possibly look because of the whole “don’t smile and keep your mouth closed” thing. I can’t do it!

Final Thoughts

I know that for some people taking a good photo is hard, because I’m one of those people. Seriously, my SO is a photographer and even though he can take amazing photos of everyone else, mine never turn out right.

I can’t stress enough, however, the importance of having a decent photo on LinkedIn. This is usually the first impression you give to potential employers, who I know for a fact are low-key stalking your social media profiles. You can even apply for jobs with LinkedIn, so it’s even more important to have a photo that not only looks like you, but puts you in the best light possible. Just like you wouldn’t wear your club clothes to an interview, you should put your best face forward on your online professional social media profiles.

Need a hand with your LinkedIn?

Check out my Personal Branding package, where I’ll take a look at everything I can find about you online and give you actionable steps you can take to make the most of your social media profiles. Learn more about this amazing (and discounted for students!) package by clicking the button below!