Ah, the dreaded LinkedIn photo. It’s funny how we work so hard to present a great image for our community or clients but often pay little attention to our professional image online.
LinkedIn is where the “brand of you” lives online. It’s the world’s largest professional network with 84 million users in the US. And it’s a recruiting powerhouse – whether you’re the recruiter or the recruitee.
As with any brand, the visual image is important. Here are a few tips we learned as we shifted from snapshots to an organized company image.
Professional Photographer – Find one who has a studio and who also does “glamour” shots. No kidding about the glamour shots because they work with vain, picky clients and become experts at lighting and pulling out the most attractive side of anyone.
Pick a Style – We opted for B&W photos because we didn’t want to be concerned about color clashes later as new people join the team. Or, if colors & patterns are out of vogue.
Background – We asked for a flat background and a light halo around the head so there would be a differentiation between a person’s dark hair and the background. This is especially helpful when images are downsized to smaller formats. Here was our example, the photographer didn’t get the lighting quite right, but it’s okay.
Pick a Smile – If you have a nice smile, a professional photographer can pull out your natural smile. It may take a while and a few antics by the photographer like you’re a five year old but, promise, he/she will capture your best self. A natural smile conveys friendliness, health and approachability.
Turn Into Your Profile – Shift shoulders so they aren’t straight to the camera like a mug shot. It’s best to orient your body toward your profile, rather than facing away.
What to Wear – This was the hardest because we are in a fun, lifestyle industry. In the end, we opted for professional rather than resort attire. We found that a dark jacket is best for both men & women. The dark V of the jacket narrows your width so it focuses on your face and you look slimmer. Here’s Whit Hazelton, our SEO/SEM manager, who is super-fit and button-down casual but the dark jacket reined him in better than the white shirt.
Don’t Broadcast Every Change – When you start making a lot of changes to your LinkedIn profile, we recommend that you change your settings so your contacts don’t see every update. Remember to change your settings back when you are finished. If you have any questions about changing your settings, just shoot me an email.
Your LinkedIn Profile – There are plenty of tips in books, and online, for maximizing your profile text. However, all that is easier once your photo is right. Kind of like that fabulous shot of your community – it’s a lot easier to write text around that.
There are many sides to all of us. But on LinkedIn – it’s professional.