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What should a head shot look like on LinkedIn?

Whenever I receive an invitation on LinkedIn, I look at that person’s profile. The first thing my eye gravitates to, as I work out if I recognise their face, is the photograph . If I don’t know the person, at least I can put a face to the name. I am always surprised when a profile has no photograph and I must say that it is very off-putting. It demonstrates that LinkedIn is not a priority to that person and therefore reduces their credibility. It can feel like the person has something to hide since they are unwilling to disclose what they look like. The same thing happens when a recruiter performs a search and a vertical list of 10 faces come up. If some are not smiling or do not at least appear happy, they might get excluded immediately.

Since the photograph is one of the three most important parts of your profile (the others are the headline and summary/about section), it is essential that you get it right. The photograph needs to clearly show your face and should be a picture from the shoulders up. It needs to portray you in a professional manner. At a recent LinkedIn workshop one of the ‘messages’ to the students included, “your photo should give the same impression as you would give at interview – be professional”. The key is to reflect the professionalism of your industry. In choosing who can view your photograph, it is best to pick everyone rather than your connections or your network. If you do not know someone who can take a decent picture of you, it is well worth the investment to get a professional head shot.

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