• Cara Heilmann

Sad But True About Your LinkedIn Picture


I hate saying this, I really do–because it shouldn’t be true. But: That image is the single most crucial thing about your LinkedIn profile. With my clients, I flash random LinkedIn pages and ask them if they’d pick up the phone and call that person if they had a job open on their team. Not looking at anything else but the image. In one minute, we look at seven profile pictures and it is like a Tinder swipe-right-left reaction.


Your image must be amazing. This is the plain, blunt truth. People are easily distracted, and recruiters, hiring managers and headhunters are not different. Here are my tips for getting a profile picture that gets positive attention.

  1. Your face should be square to the camera. No selfie-style upward look, no coy profile shot. Face the camera the way you intend to face the world: head-on.

  2. Your eyes should look directly into the lens.

  3. The lighting should be bright but not full direct sun. If you’re squinting, it’s too bright.

  4. I personally love the look of being outside using “portrait” mode on your phone; background slightly blurred, sharp focus on you.

  5. Avoid hard lines (brick walls, sides of a bookshelf). You want your eyes to be level, so it’s good to be able to rotate the image without creating disorienting lines.

  6. Wear the right clothing for the job you’re reaching for.

  7. If you have long hair, it’s best if it’s behind your shoulders or tied back.

  8. Most importantly, you should smile. Really. A warm, authentic smile speaks volumes.

If you’re good at photographing yourself, great. Or get someone else to help. Either way, I recommend at least 50 clicks of the camera so you don’t need to get all dressed up again if the shot isn’t perfect. We have a great short video on taking a great LinkedIn photo our Resources page.


There’s a whole lot of psychology behind the LinkedIn image; too much to share here. If you aren’t sure your LinkedIn image is saying what you need it to say, drop me a note with your LinkedIn URL link and I’ll let you know if I would call you or not!


Thank you Chase Wilson for letting us use your photo.


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