This is part one of what I am hoping will be a multi-part series of posts related to how the internet can affect your job search, both positively and negatively.
The inspiration for this post: I’ve been spending a lot of time on LinkedIn lately. One thing I’m starting to notice is how… varied LinkedIn profile pictures can be.
I think sometimes people confuse LinkedIn with Facebook. Both of them are networking sites but, and this is a big but, Facebook is a social networking site while LinkedIn is a professional networking site. Selecting your one and only picture for LinkedIn is best approached with this distinction in mind.
Social media is becoming a prevalent and often used tool in the recruitment process, with many recruiters looking over candidates’ LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts to get a sense of who they are before the candidate’s first interview even happens. Jobvite’s 2015 Recruiter Nation Survey actually puts the percentage of recruiters using social media as part of their process at 92%. This means your LinkedIn photo has a very high probability of becoming the first impression a recruiter has on how you choose to present yourself in a professional setting. So, how do you choose a picture that makes a good first impression? Here’s some tips:
1) Do: Use a photo that looks like you
We all change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. But if your picture doesn’t look like you the difference may be jarring to your prospective employer when they meet you in person and it may even affect your credibility. Keep your picture current.
2) Do: Make the photo at least 60% you
By this I mean that the photo should focus on your face and it should take up about 60% of the image area. Cropping from the top of the shoulders to the top of your head is a good way to make sure way to create this effect.
3) Do: Smile!
The goal is to appear friendly and approachable. If you need to, practice your smile in the mirror until you find one you like that doesn’t look forced or overly exaggerated.
4) Do: Keep it simple
The focus in this picture should be you. Keep the background simple and you clothing conservative. Speaking of clothing, business casual or business formal are the best options in almost every case.
5) And finally; DON’T use:
Selfies! Beach pictures; party pictures; group shots; pictures of you from far away; pet pictures or pictures of you with your pet; cartoons; photos of products or logos; old pictures; pixelated pictures; blurry pictures or pictures using cheesy filters of any kind… The list goes on and on. But if you use the tips above its a safe bet you will have an outstanding picture that will create a positive, solid first impression for anyone looking at your LinkedIn profile.
If you would like to learn more, check out these articles: