First impressions are important in business. And while you might have an amazing service to offer your leads and prospects, you only have a few seconds to make a good impression.
We discussed the importance of a great headline in your LinkedIn profile – One that’s crafted properly will be attention-grabbing. You also need to complement it with a great photo – an awesome photo will help seal the deal on that great first-impression.
Is a photo really necessary?
If your goal is to interact with leads and prospects, the answer is Yes! First and foremost, people buy from people, and your photo helps to personify you more than anything else in your LinkedIn profile. In addition, not having a photo actually gives the impression that your profile is incomplete, that you don’t care, or that you don’t really engage on the site.
Tips and tricks for a great photo
There is a good chance that you already have a number of great photos of you – but are they the right ones for your LinkedIn profile? When selecting a photo, always consider the expectations of your target audience.
For example, if your audience includes business partners, stakeholders, or buyers, your photo should tell them that give the impression that you are intelligent, well-informed, responsible and reliable. Considering this, stick with a straightforward, professional headshot, and save the quirky, funny, and artistic ones for your non-business profiles.
Present yourself as you would if you are meeting a business contact face-to-face:
- Wear business attire, standard for your industry’s expectations. In other words, don’t under-dress, but don’t over-dress either.
- Look approachable and friendly – have a pleasant air, or smile.
Taking the photo
It goes without saying that if you have the budget and time to invest in a professional headshot, you should definitely consider it. Let a photographer focus on the photo, so you can focus on your business!
That being said, there are many reasons why you might still opt for taking the photo yourself. In that case, do consider the following:
- Stick to your head and the top of your shoulders.
- Keep your arms down, with your hands to the side or in front of you.
- Keep the background in the background – that is, make sure it doesn’t distract from or compete with you.
- Do not use props, and do not include extra people, animals, etc.
- Make sure the setting is appropriately lit.
- If you are taking a photo of yourself, use a timer, along with a tripod or stand that will allow you to keep your arms down to the side
- Position the camera at or slightly above eye level
Can you use an existing photo?
Using an existing photo is also an option. Just make sure that you’re not taking away from the overall quality of the shot.
- Ensure thatonly you appear in the profile photo, and that there are no “remnants” of other people’s heads, arms, shoulders, etc.
- Keep in mind that a lower-resolution photo will look grainy if you need to zoom in and crop.
- Of course, the tips provided above (Presenting yourself, Taking the photo) also apply!
You need to like what you see
Most importantly, you need to like your photo! It should represent you and your personality, and it should communicate the brand you are trying to convey!
Remember that LinkedIn leverages your photo and headline to make introductions on your behalf when you can’t be there in person – these two elements are prominently featured when your leads and prospects:
- See that you looked at their profile
- See a connection request from you in their e-mail inbox
- See you in a LinkedIn search result
- See your profile page
So make sure that the photo they see reflects who you are professionally – someone who is capable, reliable, and likeable!
Just as you would invest time in your appearance when meeting someone face-to-face, it makes sense to spend a few hours creating the best profile photo possible and even investing resources to get a professional head-shot done.
How do you upload a new photo?
Go to your profile page, and click the pencil icon, to the right of your photo. In the Edit intro window that appears, go to the Profile photo, click the pencil icon. In the new dialog box that appears, click Upload to select the photo you wish to add, and then use the slider to crop the photo as needed.
Your photo should not be larger than 8 Mbytes in size. Accepted formats are JPG, GIF or PNG. Finally, the ideal pixel size for your photo Is 400 x 400 – if the width or height exceeds 20,000 px, the photo will not upload.