When it comes to connecting on LinkedIn your headshot is an essential part of your toolkit.
I’m sure you’ve reached out on LinkedIn to connect with someone you’ve met at a conference or networking event. But remember, it’s not just you using the platform, others are viewing your profile to learn more about you!
So what does your headshot say about you and are you happy with the message you’re communicating?
It’s your headshot that gets seen first. We’re attracted to an image before text, so think of your LinkedIn headshot as your visual handshake. It’s your welcome and hello in a virtual world.
If you’ve decided now’s the time to get your headshot updated, here are some quick tips to help you create a LinkedIn headshot that connects.
- Leaving your profile picture blank. You’ll be amazed how often there’s no profile picture linked to an account. As we mentioned before, your profile picture is your visual handshake and without one, you’re creating uncertainty and doubt in the viewers mind.
- Distracting backgrounds or backgrounds that have a similar colour or tone to your skin tone. Both will reduce the quick connection you’re looking for when someone views your profile picture.
- Backgrounds that are disconnected or even worse conflict with the message you’re communicating. Instead be intentional with your choice of background so you stay on brand.
- Using selfies as they very rarely work. They’re fine for more relaxed social media but not for a business networking site. At best you’ll have an image that’s just about passable and at worst you’ll have a stray arm and a weird camera angle that distorts your face. It looks unprofessional and sends the wrong message to anyone viewing your profile.
- Cropped holiday photos. These fall into the same camp as selfies, they confuse your primary message and look messy.
Quick tips to elevate your headshot
- Invest in professional headshot photography. This is an investment in you and your personal brand and helps you create that strong first impression. A good photographer will get to know you and guide you through the process.
- Communicate with a confident and approachable expression. This isn’t the place for a steely powerful stare unless you’re a kick boxer! You want to guide the viewer, encourage them to find out more and connect with you.
- Choose a background that compliments and keeps you centre of focus. This could be an environmental background that’s out of focus, plain grey or a colour used in your brand toolkit. Whatever your choice, be intentional when it comes to selecting a background for your headshot.
- Connect with an engaging front facing posture. Your photographer will also be able to guide and suggest lighting that compliments your skin tones and body shape.
- Consider your outfit and styling. I advise clients to think about their target market and choose a style that will appeal to them. You want to feel comfortable too, so choose an outfit that reflects how you normally dress.
- Make sure your face occupies most of the space available, cropping just below the neck line. This will help to create more impact when viewing the small thumbnail image on LinkedIn.
It may have been a while since you updated your headshot, so how does yours look? Does your headshot communicate confidence and approachability and does it connect with your brand?