LinkedIn continues to gain popularity as a reputable source for employers, so a solid profile page is as important as ever for job seekers. While education and experience can dominate a standard print resume, LinkedIn adds another element that can either complement or hinder your chances of appealing to an employer: the profile picture.
We spoke with Hire Dynamic's Lindsay Bechtold to give us an inside look at what many recruiters consider a good profile picture.
"Your profile picture is very important," Bechtold said. "Whether employers, prospective clients or peers want to admit it, they are judging you based on your picture."
A LinkedIn profile picture should require more consideration than other social networking platforms; not everything goes. Avoid cartoon characters and multiple people in your photo. Those viewing your page should have no question as to who the information on the page belongs to. Although poses such as the "duck face" are advised against, letting your personality shine through is encouraged; a standard yearbook smile isn't your only option.
"I love it when someone is able to show their personality through their picture," Bechtold said. "I see it like this: if someone can make you smile just by looking at their picture, imagine the positivity they could bring to the workplace. Who wouldn't want that person on their team?"
Pictures taken mid-laugh are an excellent example of finding a way to let your personality show without going too over the top. Beyond the first impression you make with your smile, other factors can make or break the professionalism of your profile picture as well. Here a few:
What you're wearing
How you dress in your picture can potentially reflect how you will dress in the workplace. Your attire in your profile picture should be similar to what you would wear in an interview. For women, chest and shoulders should be modestly covered. Blazers are a great option for both men and women.
"Avoid busy patterns as they don't photograph well, and they are distracting," Bechtold said. "You want people to be focused on your smile, not your blouse. My favorite colors to wear and what I consider my 'power colors' are green or navy blue."
How much of you is showing
"I recommend mid-chest and up," Bechtold said. "Any closer might look like a mugshot or those oh-so-flattering driver's license pictures."
Like your outfit, you also don't want the photo background to be distracting. Try to find a solid color wall to ensure the focus is on you and not what is behind you. "Outdoor headshots are also fine as long as you blur out the background," Bechtold said. "The natural light always makes people look better."