I got a call from a client recently who said that he attended a LinkedIn Profile Webinar and learned he had to hire a professional photographer to get a good headshot for his LinkedIn Profile. You can certainly use a professional photographer, but you shouldn’t feel like you have to.
He has a great LinkedIn Profile picture and I told him this. He is in a suit actually, but I don’t always recommend this. What IS important is that your personality come across! I cannot tell you how many LinkedIn Profiles I see a day and how many of those are what I call just “another man in a suit.”
Yes, they are very professional. Yes, it is better than the LinkedIn ghost default picture. Yes, it is obvious they were taken by a professional photographer. Yes, none of them appear to be grumpy, standoffish or sad – well some are standoffish. Mostly, they don’t appear anything at all! They are devoid of personality and, most often, devoid of context! It is like using too many bullets in a document – after awhile it all blends together and nothing stands out.
The most interesting ones picture the owner as engaged and approachable – likeable. Can your profile be successful with a stuffy, suit in front of a nondescript background – sure if that is the kind of person or company you want to notice you. Is it?
Even the CEOs I work with are adopting a more relaxed style of photo for their profile. It is a visual medium, why not let your picture sell you?
If you don’t have a good picture of yourself you can crop or edit one. If you need to take it yourself, try one of the selfie apps and/or sticks available for most smartphones. A selfie will save you the embarrassment of having a loved one or friend do it for you if you want to go it on your own. Take at least twenty at a time – one will usually work; if they don’t then delete them and start over!
Here is a good list of selfie apps: http://beebom.com/2015/01/selfie-apps-android-ios-windows-phone. Shop for selfie sticks here: https://www.google.com/search?q=selfie+stick&es_sm=93&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ved=0CB4QsxhqFQoTCJeE1cWYg8cCFYU7PgodZm4BeQ&biw=1366&bih=681
Better, have a photographer, friend or loved one take a few snaps at the local starbucks or coffee shop with you working on your tablet (electronic or paper), talking on the phone or speaking with someone in an interesting conversational way. Why not have the next LinkedIn Profile visitor think, “Yes, I would like to spend time with this person.”
MARY SHERWOOD SEVINSKY | CAREER EXPERT & AUTHOR
Mary is master’s-prepared and has nearly 20 years of experience in career assessment, counseling, and assisting transitioning workers such as those needing to make a career change, or who are moving, injured or disabled. Mary also has a great deal of experience with mature workers. Areas of expertise include: Career Assessment and Assistance, Resume Development, LinkedIn Profiles, Bio’s, Cover Letters, and Interview Preparation. Read more at www.linkedin.com/in/marysevinsky.