How to Choose the Right LinkedIn Photo

Man holding iPad with App LinkedIn on the screen

So you’ve filled in your LinkedIn Profile information, with solid Summary, Experience, and Education sections.

What’s next? A great headshot that exudes leadership qualities, conveys confidence, and makes employers eager to meet you.

If you’re unsure how to select a photo for your LinkedIn Profile, you have plenty of company. Many job seekers pull in a hastily cropped family photograph or select a picture with a vacation scene, rather than taking the time to use the right LinkedIn headshot. However, just like your best interview suit or a powerfully written Profile, a positive, personality-infused LinkedIn photo can make a great first impression.

These tips will help you avoid a LinkedIn photo disaster (especially the kind that turns off potential employers):

1 – Consider the setting.

While a relaxed, outdoor scene behind you is perfect if your career is in golf facility management or landscaping, it can look out of place for a professional whose workday is filled with Board meetings or sales calls. Do you spend your day in a particular type of environment, such as a laboratory, oil field, or data center room? A shot that shows your industry background can draw attention to your area of specialty. The same is true if your career is in a creative field, where either a powerful color can reinforce your creative message.

If you’re aspiring to the corner office, there’s no point in posting a LinkedIn photo of yourself in a bar or casual setting. Most conservative professions, such as Chief Operating Officer, Accountant, or Financial Analyst, attract hiring managers who are somewhat conservative themselves. Therefore, you can’t go wrong with a neutral background that conveys the seriousness required in your field.

2 – Dress for the job you want.

You’ve probably heard this phrase before, and for good reason. Hiring authorities, just like your colleagues and friends, are more likely to be receptive to those who share the same attitude and approach to work.

In addition to looking at ease in your desired job, dressing for success tells others that you’re serious about your professional brand. Therefore, you’ll benefit from mimicking the same type of attire as your bosses and supervisors, starting with the image presented in your LinkedIn photo. As an added bonus, you can adopt the same personal style at work to continually reinforce your message of value.

3 – Look around to get some ideas for your photo.

There’s never been a better way to check out your competition! Surf LinkedIn to see what successful people in your field are wearing – and how they appear to have branded themselves by their headshot pictures. To find these competitors, type your target job title into the search bar at the top of your LinkedIn home page and then click on the list of people who hold this position.

You might notice a common theme among the photos in your industry, such as a plain background, close-up headshot, or conservative suit-and-tie look. Take a few minutes to look at each Profile to examine the industry or company in which they’re employed, as well as any related information about each candidate, such as education or job history. Then, use these findings as a model for your own LinkedIn photo.

4 – Smile!

If you’re wearing a negative expression in your LinkedIn photo, you can be sure others will take note – and possibly refuse to do business with you. In particular, the air of surprise or anger that often accompanies a selfie can damage your personal brand message and put off employers.

While a outsize grin isn’t a LinkedIn necessity, a welcoming smile or pleasant expression can work wonders on your online audience. As with other personal brand elements, you’ll want to select a photo that expresses your unique personality and encourages others to reach out to you.

5 – Get a variety of photos from which to choose.

No matter if you hire a professional photographer or ask a friend to take some shots in against the backdrop of your choice, you’ll be better equipped to make a strategic decision on your LinkedIn photo with an array of pictures at your disposal. This is a much better option than hunting through your phone for a suitable headshot.

In addition, consider that having more than one great photo available for your Profile will give you with valuable options. If you see a downward trend in the volume of LinkedIn connections, inquiry replies, or message responses you receive on LinkedIn, you can easily switch to another photo to gauge the difference.

A well-thought-out LinkedIn headshot is an important element of your personal and professional brand. Make sure your online photo reflects your strength as a candidate and puts your best foot forward in the job search.

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Worried that your boss or colleagues will react to changes in your Profile?

You probably know there’s no way to make your LinkedIn Profile 100% private; however, these tips will help you update LinkedIn during your job search – without giving yourself away: Continue reading

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What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

Omitting a LinkedIn photo isn’t a good idea, because many users prefer to connect with others who’ve provided an image.

However, if your headshot makes others reluctant to network with you or persuades recruiters to pass you by, it’s worth a second look. Ask yourself these questions to gauge the effectiveness of your Profile photo:

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Pursuing your next step up the career ladder as CFO or Controller? How to Write a CFO Resume

Your CFO resume must connect the dots from tactical details, such as financial reporting or systems, to strategic advisor and CEO partner.

By showing examples of strategic decision-making and forecasting, IT oversight, performance recommendations, and Board influence, your CFO resume will position you to compete against other contenders for a C-suite role.

Here’s how to present your value proposition on a powerful, effective CFO resume: Continue reading

2015 Resume Writing Trends for Executives & Professionals

2015 Executive Resume TrendsRunning a 2015 job search — but using resume writing trends from the past?

You’ll find yourself at a disadvantage in today’s aggressive job market.

Plenty of job seeking activities have changed over the past decade… and your executive resume needs to keep pace with them.

Job seekers in 2015, 2016, and beyond must develop and leverage a personal brand message throughout each aspect of their resumes, social media activities, cover letters, and LinkedIn Profiles.

To ensure your resume and job search activity aligns with the latest resume writing trends in 2015, take note of these 5 critical elements: Continue reading

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Sharpen your approach and position yourself as a contender by checking your executive resume against these too-common resume writing mistakes: Continue reading

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You’ll need to consider LinkedIn strategies that differ substantially from those used by mid-career professionals.

For example, many executives choose to limit the information they distribute on LinkedIn, due to company confidentiality or other reasons. Executives are also approached more often than other users on LinkedIn, either as a potential employer or by a recruiter piqued by their qualifications.

This activity can call for a more toned-down presence on the site – while still conveying a strong leadership message.

Consider implementing these changes to cultivate a powerful, yet discreet LinkedIn presence supporting your strategically planned executive job search: Continue reading