Six Steps to Taking The Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

Jun 19, 2020 5 Min Read
How Good Is Your LinkedIn Profile?

According to LinkedIn’s Official Blog, users with LinkedIn profile photos attract 21 times more profile views and receive up to 36 times more messages compared to those who don’t have a profile picture.

One problem many people face when creating a new LinkedIn profile or when looking for a new job is their personal picture.

We’ve all been there, asking this question:

How do I ensure I look confident and make my future employer want to hire me?

It’s no big secret that you will have to pass the job interview first. But having an engaging profile picture is going to significantly help you get that interview.

According to LinkedIn’s Official Blog, users with a LinkedIn profile picture attracted 21 times more profile views and receive up to 36 times more messages compared to those who don’t have a profile picture.

Not having a profile picture (or having a poor one) can cause instant rejection.

For myself, I had to understand that:

With my profile photo, I am projecting credibility and trustworthiness.

This means anyone (including potential employers) seeing your profile picture should instantly perceive you as reliable.

So what are factors that can influence just how reliable you look?

1. Pick a casual outfit, but keep it formal

Unless you are a lawyer or CEO, there is no need for a suit. The best choice would be an outfit you would normally wear for a job interview.

Avoid revealing or provocative clothing. For men, the best choice would be a well-fitting button-down shirt or polo with a pair of matching pants.

An excellent choice for women would be a blouse with a pair of pants or a pencil skirt.

After you wash and iron your clothes you are ready for the next step.

2. Makeup shouldn’t draw attention

You can skip this part if you are not going to wear makeup, but if you are  – make sure you don’t overdo it.

It shouldn’t call unnecessary attention to you. You don’t want the person to think that the photo was taken just before you headed out clubbing. Keep it subtle and maintain a natural look.

3. Avoid other people in the picture

Other people in such pictures are simply distracting and can cause misunderstandings. So double-check that you are the sole focus of the viewers’ attention.

LinkedIn is different from other social media channels. If your potential employers want to see your friends or relatives, they would find you on Facebook or Instagram. It’s not that difficult.

LinkedIn is different from other social media channels. If your potential employers want to see your friends or relatives, they would find you on Facebook or Instagram. It’s not that difficult.

Likewise, if headhunters are checking your profile, that means they are interested in YOU, not your friends or family members.

4. Smile – it helps to sell (yourself)

Genuine smiles increase your appeal.

40% of job interviewers agreed that a lack of a smile can lead to not considering the candidate.

According to sales professionals, positive facial expressions build trust and help sell. People tend to buy from those who keep a pleasant smile during the sales process.

On LinkedIn, you are selling yourself to your potential future employers and trying to foster other important connections. Essentially, a smile is a sign of confidence – and acting confident may boost your actual self-assuredness in the future.

5. Use a timer or ask a friend for help

You can take your professional portrait using your smartphone or digital camera if you own one.

Today’s mobile phone cameras can easily take high-quality images suitable for LinkedIn. Just put it on something steady (a shelf or a table with a pile of extra books for height) and set the timer.

Another idea is to ask your friend or someone close to help you take your headshot.

Avoid distracting backgrounds and keep it smooth. We want our profile visitors to focus on us, not what’s behind us.

6. Crop to fill the frame with your head and shoulders

Once you have your portrait uploaded, it’s time to fill the LinkedIn frame with it.

You can crop the image after you upload it to LinkedIn. Their recommendation is to make sure that about 60% of the frame contains your face.

Since it’s a headshot, crop out your body and leave just your head and shoulders visible.

Besides that, you can use LinkedIn’s built-in tools to edit your profile picture – increase or decrease contrast, slightly add some filters, or make it black and white. You can even try using an image size changer for ease. If you are using these adjustments, just remember to keep it simple.

Read: How to Use LinkedIn Effectively During Your Job Search

BONUS tip:

Feel free to use the same photo in different social media channels. If it’s good enough for LinkedIn, it’s good enough for Facebook.

It would be also a great pick as an author’s portrait in your blog post, or just your personal photograph around the web. How cool is that?

Here’s a photo of myself I took at home:

Linkedin profile picture

It’s not taken professionally. And yes, it’s not super sharp and doesn’t contain magazine-like quality. However, I think it’s more than enough for LinkedIn considering it was taken in a living room.


All you have to do is to find a source of soft light. A great option is to stand in front of a window at home or use the natural light outside. That’s exactly what I did.

I attached my camera to a tripod and set the timer for 10 seconds. I used natural light coming through the window and stood in front of the wall.

Then I added black and white effect (I preferred it without colors) and voila – my profile photo for LinkedIn. The whole process took me about 15 minutes.

… or Hire a Professional Photographer

If you are not on a low budget, it’s always the best idea to hire a professional photographer. It’s a one-of-a-kind of investment that will help you to make a career. There are lots of technical things that we don’t usually think about – professional gear, light, background, composition, editing, etc.

Remember, LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals for their productivity and success. A clear, high-quality portrait of you is going to tell other people that you are going to be successful and make them believe in you.

More of a visual learner? Here’s an infographic recapping all the points.

See also: 4 Ways To Build A Better LinkedIn Profile

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Karolis Kiniulis is a photographer who spends most of his time capturing people in various events or personal photoshoots. He is also a digital media specialist who implements digital marketing strategies for a variety of industries.

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