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Your LinkedIn Profile Pic – Why a Professional Shot Matters

John Ribeiro - Canadian Career Coach
I just did a photo shoot with John yesterday. He’s an amazing photographer.

All I heard all day was “Tilt your head”, “Adjust your jacket”, “Move your hands”, “Tummy in”, “Butt out”.

A photographer is not just someone with an expensive camera. It’s also about positioning and lighting. This is why I’ve never even tried to think that I can do this on my own.

And it got me wondering about LinkedIn profile pics.

I’m a numbers guy. So before I started writing this email, I Googled around to see some quantifiable benefits of using a profile picture on LinkedIn.

I found the below statement on LinkedIn’s help page.
Hoo boy! TWENTY ONE times more profile views.

You know I could just end the email now and leave you with that 🙂

But the day won’t be complete without your daily job search tip, so here goes…

Now that you know you need a profile pic (and I’m sure most of you already have one), the next point is about picture quality.

The first person who actually took my advice on updating her profile pic was my sister.

Like many, she didn’t pay much attention to her LinkedIn profile. As such, she had a lazy, cropped out photo of herself partying in Dubai.

She took my advice and hired a professional photographer for AED 400 and went on location to a restaurant she liked and got the below pic done.
While many job seekers have a profile pic, they pay little attention to the quality of the shot.

You should consider investing in getting a professional headshot done of yourself. Remember, when a recruiter, hiring manager or network contact is looking at your pic, they are creating the first personal impression of you.

Common mistakes I see people make are using cropped out pics or selfies or using the same pic they used in their passport. As such, in these types of pics:They are too far from the camera, I can’t even see their faceThey are too closeThey are not  smilingYou can easily tell it’s a lazy, cropped photoThere is more than one person in the profile (yes I’ve actually seen this)All of these mistakes leaves the viewer looking at your profile with the impression that you’re not detail oriented or professional enough to take your job search and brand seriously.

I’m lucky I’ve got John for this stuff. Among many things, he’s also a photographer. Check out his background pic:
If you want to get ideas on what a good profile pic looks like, it’s not hard.

Just go to Google Images and type “LinkedIn Profile Headshot”. This is what you get:
Notice what they all have in common? They are up to the chest and they are all smiling.

The smile is key. You want the recruiter or manager or networking contact to say to themselves “Yes, this looks like a person I can get along with.”

That serious non-smiling look you are forced to give when getting your passport photo done is going to create a very negative impression of you.

I mean, just look at these two pics of me – which one of these two guys would you rather work with?
I know what you’re thinking – “Can I do this myself or do I need to spend money to hire a pro?”

That’s your call. If you want to take the D-I-Y approach, get a pic done, and compare it to these examples I’ve shown you. Hats off to you if you can accomplish it on your own.

Of all things one does during a job search, this is probably the most fun exercise. So enjoy it. Remember, if you are considering investing in a photographer, you can make full use of that investment by reusing that photo in many places.

It will be in your HR file and Skype/Teams/Zoom profile pic at your new job, and will certainly portray a professional you to your new colleagues.
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