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Hays US Blog

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How to make a great first impression with your LinkedIn profile photo

By Beth Yovino, Director of Talent Acquisition, Hays U.S. on Friday, Jan 10th, 2020

You have heard the sayings, “first impressions count” and “a picture says a thousand words.” That holds true for your LinkedIn profile photo. It is part of your personal brand and what makes you wonderfully unique. Savvy job seekers know they have seven seconds to make themselves memorable. They also know hiring managers want to hire people that will represent their employer in the best light. The right LinkedIn profile picture is an important element in one’s job search. You will automatically increase odds of being viewed by others by including a picture in your LinkedIn profile. In fact, some people won’t connect or respond to you if you do not have a profile picture.

You don’t need to break the bank paying for a professional photographer; a camera on your smartphone will do the trick. Here are some tips to taking a great photo that will ensure a positive first impression.

Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
If you have researched this topic, you would have seen a lot of advice about being your authentic self in your profile photo. Yes, you want to be authentic, but bear in mind, you’re looking to advance your career and your image plays a significant role. Dress for the role you want, not the role you are in. You don’t have to be in a suit and tie, but a wrinkled shirt or plunging neckline can send the wrong signal. Bold, solid colors work well, as do adding layers, like a jacket or scarf. Try several outfits to see what works best for you.

Pick the right location
A poor background is very common, yet an avoidable mistake. If you take nothing else away from this article, please take this - bathroom selfies are never appropriate! Stay away from group photos and social event shots that don’t speak to the professional image you want to portray. Your background should enhance your picture, not distract from it. A simple background with natural lighting is a great choice.

Ensure your photo is high quality
LinkedIn recommends a profile picture that is 400 x 400 pixels. You’ll also want to avoid low-resolution images. If your photo is blurry or besieged by the dreaded red-eye glare, pick another image.

Choose the right pose
You want to look professional, but be careful not to look too serious or intense, which some people might mistake for anger. Instead you want to come across as warm and friendly. Your face should occupy 60% of the photo, more than that can look at bit startling. Remember to take body language into account and avoid tightly folded arms. Look at the camera straight on and smile with your eyes, let people know how you will shine in your new role.

Investing a little time and energy in your profile picture and increase response and referral rates. This is one of your first chances to communicate that you are capable, trustworthy, approachable. Make it count!

For more career advice visit the resources section of our website.

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