I met up a few friends the other day over brunch and got talking about our profile pictures on Linkedin. Believe it or not, the profile picture is one of the key components in building a professional relationship. Even before someone scrolls down to the experience and educational qualification, the profile picture is the first thing that comes up. And it's on the top left corner of the page, which I remember from my advertising days that human eye travels from top left corner of the page to the bottom right corner. So by that definition, it's the very first thing one sees.
We use Linkedin for professional networking. Sometimes we seek jobs, sometimes business partnerships as well as sometimes, we are looking to hire. In all these situations it's important that the person looking at us has the right impression.
Let's ask ourselves a question before we begin.
What impression are we trying to form?
A: Well, since it's a professional networking website we would like to come across as someone who is professional, looks confident enough to get things done. At the same time, you are friendly and people like to approach you.
As Sean Koppelman, President of The Talent Magnet says that "What you should portray is that you are a happy, professional person, who is going to bring something positive to the organization!" Click here for his entire video
Here are a few things that you should avoid while taking the picture.
- Do not flinch. You are probably flinching because you are standing under direct sunlight. Which is bad because firstly it makes you flinch and secondly it's going to burn your picture. Stand in shade. It can be in your office, or in front of a wall that has a nice painting or even without a painting. Or some sort of background that's not too busy and distracting.
- Keep your outfits clean and sober. You may be a party animal, but keep that side of your personality for Facebook. When it comes to Linkedin dress up remembering what the purpose is. Also, industry is important. What is appropriate for a creative advertising professional may not be the right outfit for a finance professional. So check that. Similarly other things like hair, skin, makeup etc.
- When posing for the picture, keep a check on your expressions. You could possibly be laughing or smiling way too much or looking somewhere else. Or have some weird expression. These are a big NO for profile pictures.
- Don't get other people to pose with your for "your" profile picture. Not your kids or family or friends. Nobody but you should be in that picture because people who are looking at you are interested in "you" only.
- Don't go for fancy hair or makeup. If you look clean and pleasant then you have got it right.
- Make sure the lighting is right!
And that's it!
Given below are some examples of pictures that you should not!
And here are some examples of profile pics below, that you could try.