by William Arruda | Contributor
I write about personal branding.
I have seen more LinkedIn profiles than anyone I know. It’s both part of the work I do and a little bit of a hobby. I really enjoy learning about people, and LinkedIn is a great tool to help you do that. On the flip side, people are using LinkedIn to learn about you. Your LinkedIn profile is you when you aren’t there, so it’s critical to your career success. That means it’s an important place to focus your energy as you work to build your brand and expand your success.
It’s always valuable to have examples of profiles to spark your own creativity. I’m often asked to share my favorites. In this post, I share headshots I admire, along with the do’s and don’ts when it comes to adorning your profile with your mug.
Your headshot is one of four really important components of your LinkedIn profile when it comes to telling your story and engaging with your audience:
- Headline (here’s a previous post on how to craft a compelling headline)
- Summary (here’s a previous post on how to create a stellar summary)
Your headshot makes you real in the virtual world. Yet some people continue to leave their headshot blank, or they don’t take it seriously when they do upload one. I have seen numerous headshots that actually make me want to avoid the person behind the headshot rather than create a connection with them. To protect the guilty, I won’t share those here.
The best headshots are created by a professional photographer. So schedule a shoot – it’s worth the investment. Here’s some advice for making your headshot a valuable asset:
What not to do:
- Don’t use selfies – save them for Instagram or SnapChat. According to a study by JDP, a risk mitigation services firm, about 9% of LinkedIn photos are selfies. The industries with the greatest percentage of profiles with selfies are retail, government and healthcare.
- Don’t use images where you’ve cropped others out of the frame; it’s weird to see part of your arm other someone else’s hair. The same JDP study found that 15% of photos they reviewed were cropped from groups and that women are more likely to use this type of cropped photo for LinkedIn.
- Don’t use a logo in place of your face. As proud as you are of your company, using the logo takes the humanity out of your profile. Save the logo for your company page, and put your smile out there instead.
- Don’t use images with multiple people. We love that you’re a collaborator or that you adore your kids, but this is LinkedIn, not Facebook.
- Don’t leave it blank – this makes you less real and more dubious in the virtual world.
- Don’t have a background that is so busy it detracts from the headshot – or worse, a background that makes you look unprofessional or disorganized.
What to do:
- Invest in a professional headshot. It’s not that expensive, especially when you consider that LinkedIn’s audience is approaching a billion. Remember, your headshot is part of your first impression.
- Face forward so you can look into the eyes of those checking you out. Avoid side views and shadowy shots.
- Smile – it’s the universal welcome symbol.
- Choose a simple background or one that truly exudes your personal brand.
- Dress in a way that reflects who you are and is relevant for your target audience (the people you want checking you out)
Here are some headshots I think really capture the essence of their subject:
- You’d expect the CEO of LinkedIn to have a stellar headshot, and Jeff Weiner certainly does.
- Headshots have a special significance for Lubna Khalid because she founded a cosmetics company.
- Virtual health and fitness coach Jack Nguyen definitely looks like a person who takes his own advice.
- And my all time favorite headshot is of my friend and bestselling author Gretchen Rubin, who looks right into the camera with confidence and charisma. I use hers all the time in my presentations as an example of how to do it right!
When it’s time to upload your new pic, crop your image so about 60-80% of the real estate is your face. This will help you connect more deeply with those who are checking you out.
And one last thing: Make sure to name your headshot file “yourname.jpg.” That way, when someone does a Google image search on you, it will show up in the results.
I’m a personal branding pioneer, motivational speaker, founder of Reach Personal Branding and cofounder of CareerBlast.TV. I’m also the bestselling author of the…MORE