Photo by SanneBerg via iStock
I sometimes wonder in amazement how people found jobs before the age of the internet.
In our world, you can hop online and search job listings for gigs the world over. Likewise, companies can explore potential candidates on sites like LinkedIn. It all seems so much easier!
But with everyone on LinkedIn these days, you have to find ways to stand out from the crowd. And one of the best ways of doing so is having the right LinkedIn profile picture.
Not sure how to proceed with that? Consider the following tips as your critical guide.
First, let's have a look at LinkedIn profile picture size - Pixel size is between 400 (w) x 400 (h) pixels and 7680 (w) x 4320 (h) pixels. The maximum file size is 8 MB.
Table of Contents
Tip #1: DIY Your Photo
Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash
If you're reading this, there's a pretty good chance you're a photographer. And even if you aren't, you can take a pretty awesome LinkedIn profile picture yourself. Believe me! you don't need to be a professional photographer to capture your photo. So why go through the hassle of hiring somebody to do the job you can do?
Hiring someone to take your picture means one of two things: either you're going to a mass LinkedIn profile picture photoshoot with 25 other job seekers and putting down $10-$20 for a photo you only have one chance at getting right or you're paying a professional portrait photographer hundreds of dollars for what is essentially just one photo.
Besides, even if you're taking it with your smartphone, you will likely be happier with the outcome you get!
Plus, it's easy!
Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash
For a professional photo for LinkedIn, find a plain white wall as a LinkedIn profile picture background somewhere in your house that is facing a window. Figure out what time of day the sun is shining through that window. Look at all the beautiful, natural light in the room above, strive for that.
You don't want direct light on the wall where you'll be seated or standing - reflected light like above is exactly what you want. It's soft and even, so there won't be harsh shadows or highlights on your face.
Next, set up a tripod to hold your phone or camera. Use your device's self-timer to give yourself a few seconds to get into place before the shutter is released.
Plain background, good light, and your phone or camera on a tripod with the self-timer engaged, that's what all you need while concerning about set up.
Next, follow the following four steps for figuring out how to pose for your picture.
Tip #2: Learn to Pose Like a Model for the Day
While Tyra Banks is famous for "smizing," or smiling with your eyes, Peter Hurley is famous for squinching, or squinting and pinching your lower eyelid.
"Confidence comes from the eyes, and so does fear," Hurley says in the introduction to his video above. That means that potential employers are able to tell when you don't exude confidence before reading a single word of your LinkedIn profile.
So, one of the best-kept secrets for a good LinkedIn photo is to squinch. You can see how this works in the LinkedIn profile picture examples below:
Screenshot from Peter Hurley's YouTube video
Above, the model is demonstrating what people normally do when they have their portrait taken - their eyes widen for a deer-in-the-headlights sort of look.
Notice in this shot how there is an abundance of the whites of the model's eyes showing. He looks more surprised than anything!
Now compare that to the squinching LinkedIn photo example below:
Screenshot from Peter Hurley's YouTube video
As you can see, the man's entire persona has changed. He appears more relaxed - not just in his eyes but throughout his face.
With his muscles relaxed, he exudes much more confidence - confidence that is immediately picked up on. While the shift is small, it's definitely noticeable.
The goal, Hurley says, is to no longer be able to see the bottom whites of your eyes (anything under the pupil).
Use this technique, and you'll have a much better chance of creating the best LinkedIn profile photos that get people interested in who you are and what you do.
Tip #3: Edit Your Photos Using LinkedIn
If you don't have a post-processing program like Photoshop available to edit your portrait, LinkedIn has a solution.
They dropped new LinkedIn filters a couple of years back that was pretty poorly publicized.
If you download the LinkedIn app on your phone, you can choose from a few different filters that add class to your LinkedIn profile picture.
Sure, it isn't nearly as powerful as what you get with something like Photoshop, but it's at least a start!
Tip #4: Smile Like This
Photo by Tempura via iStock
This one should seem pretty obvious, but while scrolling through LinkedIn to find inspiration for this article earlier today, I realized that some folks just don't know how to smile.
One study of over 800 LinkedIn profile pictures found something extremely specific about what your face says about you to others.
If you take your photo like the one above, smiling with your teeth showing, people perceive you as more competent, more likable, and more knowledgeable than if you play it serious in your picture.
If, however, you take a LinkedIn profile photo like this one...
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash
... your likeability rating will skyrocket, and your competence and intelligence scores will plummet.
In other words, make sure you show your teeth when you smile, but don't laugh, and certainly don't close your eyes!
Tip #5: Face Forward Or Left
Photo by scyther5 via iStock
This one takes a bit of thought, and I haven't seen it anywhere else but in this Forbes article on secrets LinkedIn won't tell you.
If you are subtly leaning towards your left shoulder, like the man above, you are facing your name, your introduction, and your experience on your LinkedIn page. It allows the viewer of your profile an easy line of sight, jumping from your face to your information. The fact that his shoulders are turned to the left also helps.
Photo by Giulio Fornasar via iStock
If, however, you're facing your right shoulder (or your shoulders are facing to the right, as above), you could be sending a subconscious message that you don't believe what you say about yourself on your LinkedIn profile.
I know it sounds kind of crazy, but when you're on the hunt for a job and you're trying to beat out the competition, every little bit helps, right?
Take these LinkedIn profile picture tips to heart as you create your profile and see the difference it makes in terms of how you look and how potential employers perceive you. Based on the research, it could mean the difference between getting that dream job or not!