Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

6 Tips for the Perfect LinkedIn Headshot

This post was written by Peer Career Ambassador Jaclyn Gaines ’16.

As millennials, we are pretty well versed in social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. However, LinkedIn is a different battle that our generation is still trying to grasp. One of the biggest challenges I have found amongst our generation regards the appropriate professional headshot. While we are all capable of posting selfies on these other, more casual social media sites, it is vital to our professional success that we learn what makes for a great, professional headshot. Here are 6 tips for how you can achieve the perfect LinkedIn headshot:

  1. Dress for Success

First impressions are everything – Even when that first impression may be checking out someone’s LinkedIn profile. You want to make sure you are dressed professionally in your profile picture, similar to what you would wear to a job interview. Consider what industry you are going into, and within reason, model your profile picture after that. So whether you are looking to pursue a career in finance or the next best tech start up, give this some thought when choosing what to wear in your profile picture. Above all else, remember to keep it polished and appropriate.

  1. Keep your expression pleasant

When posing for your profile picture, make sure to look pleasant – Not overly happy, but not a grump either. You want to come across as approachable, as people tend to gravitate towards these types of people. Coming across too happy or too serious can be perceived negatively by employers.

  1. Choose a simple, clean background

Above all else, you want your face to be the main focus of the photo. So, don’t pose in front of a background that is going to be too distracting. While it doesn’t have to be a plain, white wall, choose something simple and neutral to accentuate your face.

  1. Use the right lighting

Lighting can make all the difference in great photos. For your headshot, make sure the lighting is not too dark or too bright. If given the option, go for natural light, but play around with it and see what looks best.

  1. No selfies!

I know our generation loves a good selfie, but LinkedIn is not the place for it. Selfies can make you look unprofessional, which is definitely not the type of vibe you want to give off on LinkedIn.

  1. Use a high-quality camera

Given all the effort you are putting in when creating your headshot, you don’t want the quality of the image to be super poor – as this can also give off an unprofessional feel. While you don’t need to hire a professional photographer, get access to a good quality camera to make your profile picture shine.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, make sure your headshot is able to effectively communicate your personal brand so employers see the confident, capable professional you are!