The Do’s and Don’ts for Taking the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

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Excellent advice from LinkedIn’s career expert Catherine Fisher and professional photographer Donald Bowers on what to keep in mind when it comes to selecting a profile pic for your LinkedIn account.

LinkedIn is probably my least favorite social media platform.  It’s clunky and absolutely no fun but it is essential (and effective) for business networking. As a rule, if I get a call from anybody I haven’t previously met, I check out their LinkedIn profile. I expect to see a profile picture that is professional, friendly, and relevant to their career. And I am flabbergasted that there are still people on LinkedIn (and twitter) without a profile pic.

Read below for specific do’s and don’ts from the experts.

Do have a profile picture.

The simple act of adding a photo increases your visibility on LinkedIn by a factor of 14.

Don’t forget the context.

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, so unless you are a veterinarian, never include your pet. And unless you are a swimsuit model, don’t take a photo of yourself in your bikini. Keep it professional.

Do think about the lighting.

If you can’t afford a professional, have a friend photograph you, first setting up the light source to his or her immediate left or right. As opposed to a direct flash, which tends to flatten and wash you out, side lighting will provide a more modeled look. Bowers recommends shooting LinkedIn profile pictures indoors against either a grey or white background.

Don’t be too formal or informal.

Not everyone’s LinkedIn picture should look the same. While headshots work for most professions, it’s important to tailor your picture’s style to the type of job you are applying for. “Ask yourself, ‘what would the people at that company be wearing?'” Fisher says. The answer to that will vary widely, depending on both the industry and the company.

Do consider hiring a professional photographer.

A professional headshot is an investment, one that can often be used for up to five years. Bowers typically charges $200 for a one-hour session which includes lighting and composition and retouching of one headshot. Stress and sleep deprivation are things that happen to us all, but with some subtle airbrushing, Bowers can minimize splotchy skin and eye bags. Retouching “helps a lot. It can make you look five years younger. And for a first impression…that can sometimes be very important.”

Link to complete Entrepreneur article, here.

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