Whether you’re looking for a new job, searching for a top candidate, or exploring ways to publicize your company, LinkedIn is the go-to social networking platform for all things business. With this, it’s critical to put your best professional game face forward on LinkedIn, and that starts with your profile picture.

Your profile picture is one of the most important elements of your LinkedIn presence. In fact, research shows that just having a picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed by others. Incorporating a quality photo into your LinkedIn profile will not only help you make the right impression, it will humanize your profile, making you recognizable and more approachable.

These days, having an optimized LinkedIn profile is as important in the professional world as an up-to-date resume. Especially when you consider the fact that your LinkedIn profile is supercharged with valuable google goodies – it’s the first thing interested parties are going to click on when they’re internet stalking you, and BELIEVE US they are internet stalking you.

Unlike eras past, it now only takes a few seconds and a handful of poorly chosen pixels to handicap your career ambitions. Here is our guide of Do’s and Don’ts to make sure you put your best foot forward – making your LinkedIn profile as professional and approachable as possible.

DO choose a photo that looks like you
People want to be able to instantly recognize you. Have you ever seen someone’s profile picture online and then met them in person only to find they look completely different? It’s a startling experience, and one that can make you question their credibility. So it is important to make sure your profile picture accurately reflects how you look. Remember this is about YOU. Make sure your front and center, and the focus of the photo.

DON’T use a headshot that is old enough to buy a drink in a bar
While it’s tempting to go back into the archives and pick a fantastic shot from your prime, it’s important to depict yourself as you look right now. If someone meets you in person and doesn’t recognize you from your profile pic, that could raise a red flag.

DO look the part
Since LinkedIn is a professionally oriented platform, make sure to wear the type of clothes you’d wear on the job. If you work in finance, go for a suit and tie. If you’re a programmer at a high-tech firm, that old faithful plaid shirt will do the trick. If you work at a startup and rock your athleisure wear everyday, you should probably step it up a notch. You don’t want to be over or underdressed.

Dressing professionally also means dressing cleanly and simply: avoid wearing too much makeup, or any over-the-top, distracting hairstyles and jewelry. Also, note that solid colors tend to do best on camera.

DON’T use an overkill filter
Mayfair. Rise. Valencia. Wondering which one to use? Let us make it easy for you – DON’T! Skip the crazy instagram filter. Potential employers and clients want to see you just as you are.

DO keep it simple
The last thing you want is to look like you have horns growing out of your head from an unfortunately placed tree in the background of your photo. Avoid busy backgrounds, get some good light and keep the rest of your shot simple.

DON’T crop an obvious group shot
Your photo should be of you, and only you. No dangling arms of your college buddies, or half-cropped faces of an ex.

DO make sure your face takes up at least 60% of the frame
Save the distant sun kissed photo of you surfing in hawaii for instagram. Your adventurous side holds little currency in the LinkedIn universe, and users will have no idea what you look like. Make sure you are front and center, and the focus of the photo. The ideal LinkedIn portrait is cropped close and tight, like this: shoulders, some neck, and definitely your face. But NO selfies. Selfies of any kind are way too casual for LinkedIn.

DON’T include distractions
After putting all of that effort into perfecting your look, you’ll want to make sure that you are the focal point of your profile picture. To ensure this, it is important to go solo. Don’t include spouses, friends, kids, or your yellow lab Buddy (Yes, we are just as disappointed as you are on this one).

Feeling overwhelmed? ETS is here to help by making sure you put your best foot forward! On Thursday, June 8th visit our booth (#80) at the North Country Chamber of Commerce Business Expo at the SUNY Plattsburgh Field House for a complimentary headshot! Greer Cicarelli Photography will be on hand from 11am-2pm to make sure your next profile picture makes a positive first impression!

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