A Picture Can Tell a Thousand Words - What Does Yours Say?


With LinkedIn arguably becoming the new game-changing resume, it is really important to take into account that networking and building strong professional relationships can sometimes rely superficially on your profile… so first impressions do really count especially on the digital platform.

As recruiters, our agency deals with a wealth of experienced professionals with impressive resumes that can make even some of LinkedIn’s influencers jealous, and throughout experience we notice that some of the most successful candidates tend to possess professional, neutral and approachable profiles.

Let’s focus on the LinkedIn profile picture, the picture that a potential connection will look at first before reading your current job role – surprisingly there is still a large community of LinkedIn members that have not bothered to put a picture up and then there is the large community of members that have the WRONG picture up!

The LinkedIn profile picture is arguably what represents your professional image, and as a former professional photographer I can tell you that the right photo is a must. So with that in mind, here is a list of what not to do when deciding on a picture for LinkedIn so that your image is saying all the right things.

Do not upload the following as your LinkedIn profile picture:

1. That one of you pouting

If I get a $ for every selfie I see on LinkedIn, I would be retiring right about now. What’s up with the selfie ladies and gents? and it doesn’t stop there, with the selfie, out comes the duck face pout, the sexy face, the inappropriate attire and sultry eyes… ladies and gentlemen of the corporate world, let’s save such images for Tinder!

Not only does this look unprofessional, you could potentially be giving off the wrong signal about your profile. From experience I can tell you that it looks untidy, and other professionals may find it hard to take you very seriously and feel that you got the social networking platform a little confused. 

2. That one of you on vacation

I really couldn’t be happier that you went to the Grand Canyon, climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro or watched the sunset on a Mauritian beach, but save your picture for Instagram! Although it’s great that you are cultured, well travelled and you clearly have better things to do when you are not stuck in the office, it is still not the image you want to paint on your professional profile! Chances are that you will already have a strong following of friends on your Instagram account that do care about seeing your latest skiing trip.

3. That one of you on a night out

Sure it was a great night, sure you look suave or sexy outside of your 9-5 gear, sure you got 59 likes on Facebook, but this does not warrant you using it on LinkedIn! And especially not if you have a drink or cigar in your hand (it may win you kudos with your friends, but you may come across as the office boozy or the chain-smoker who takes too many smoke breaks!)– Catch my drift? Don’t be that employee!!

4. That one of you at the zoo

So you love your pet chameleon or your best friend is your dog, or you recently went to the San Diego Zoo and thought the picture your friend took of you and the giant panda would be suitable for LinkedIn. Although you may come across as a respectable human being and an animal lover, it probably won’t add much to your profile and it certainly will not be the reason you would get a job, especially if a hiring manager has a perfectly angled, well-lit head and shoulder shot of themselves taken for professional use – just saying. 

5. That one of you taken at the wrong angle

Maybe you think you look better with a fish-eye lens, or maybe you think that the one of you taken at birds eye view is more flattering, or maybe you thought the one of you looking down at the camera all creepy made you look more serious and therefore more attractive for a high end corporate company role… if that is the case, please throw away all your maybes and take a look at some of the partners at that firm’s profile pictures, all the way down to junior employees: I guarantee you neither one will have a go-pro shot of themselves, unless of course they haven’t read this article!

As recruiters, we know that your image can say a lot about you and therefore work against you if not presented correctly. Here we suggest you do the following:

1. Have a fairly recent photo of yourself – Not the one taken 10 years ago!

2. If you cannot get yourself to a photography studio or have not had a photo taken at work, ask somebody to take a snap of you with a high pixel camera with the following in mind:

a) Make sure there is a neutral background (white / grey/ black/ cream), this could quite simply be a white wall, or have a strong depth of field so that the background is a blur and the focus is on you.

b) The more natural lighting there is the better coming from the direction of the camera as this will light your photo up naturally and will not only make you look flawless, it will also help with not casting any shadows on the wall behind you.

3. Take a look at this link for some more top tips on the perfect headshots: http://www.organicheadshots.com/tips.html

So if your picture is going to tell a thousand words, make sure unprofessional is not one of them. 

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Posted on Thursday Jan 28
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