Let’s be honest. LinkedIn has become a critical part of your job search. It’s a wonderful place for a number of reasons:
- You can research companies you’re interested in
- You can find employees at a particular company, and possibly even the hiring manager
- You can stay in touch with your old colleagues, and they can write public recommendations for you about your work
- You can learn which jobs companies are hiring for
- You can apply quickly, and learn how many other people you’re competing against
If you’ve been hesitant to join LinkedIn, don’t try to resist. It’s not the same kind of social media as Facebook or Twitter. You need to be on LinkedIn. Your future hiring manager is looking for you there, and you need to represent yourself well.
One of the most important pieces of your LinkedIn profile is the most simple: the photo. It will make a first impression. Here are the things you need to know to make it great.
- Have a photo. I can’t tell you how many times I see a LinkedIn profile with no profile photo. You’ve got to have a photo to show people who you are. In my case, there are many people with the same name as me. It allows my contacts to pick me out from other Angela Copelands.
- Your profile photo should be a real photo of you. It should not be an artistic photo of a landscape. It shouldn’t be a cartoon of you. It shouldn’t be anything but a real live photo of you.
- Your profile photo should only be you. Just you. Not you and your date, you and your spouse, or you and your child. This site is made to represent your professional self. Unless you plan to take your date / spouse / child to work with you, keep them for your Facebook photo.
- Wear work friendly attire in the photo. Don’t wear anything too casual or too formal. Go with either business casual or business attire.
- Smile. Face the camera. Look approachable. Unless you work in a particularly creative field, this isn’t the time to make a statement.
- Use a recent photo. Although that photo taken twenty years ago might be completely flattering, it’s not current. Use a current photo. Show people what you actually look like.
You get the idea. Hiring managers are visual people. Do your homework and come up with a LinkedIn photo that represents you in the best light.
But, don’t be fooled into thinking you need an expensive headshot. A friend can easily snap a photo of you that will work great. But, do have a friend do it. Selfie profile photos aren’t appropriate for LinkedIn.