“Good” LinkedIn Profile Pictures: What Do They Actually Look Like?

What makes a “good” photo is subjective and somewhat elusive, right?

When you are talking about art photography, yes. What appeals to one person may not make any impression on another. In the case of LinkedIn profile pictures, however, there are some basic principles that apply. I have addressed some of these in my earlier articles here and here, and in response many readers have asked me to post what I would consider “good” LinkedIn profile shots. So here are some great shots of four different men (credit: Adobe Images, not real profiles).

Remember that the tone of your LinkedIn profile photo should match the brand that you wish to portray. If you want to project that you have executive presence, your LinkedIn profile photo should communicate that (see images 1 and 2 below). If you tend toward the creative in your work – regardless of your field, from visual, theater or culinary arts to science, technology or even (in some cases) finance – a more creative photo may be appropriate (see image 3 below). If you are a professional but more about substance than form and rarely wear a suit, you may wish to skip the suit in your profile picture (see image 4 below). In all, your LinkedIn photo and profile generally should be a calling card for who you are if someone were to meet you in “real life” (in a business context, of course).

IMG_0422 (LinkedIn size smiling man in suit)Successful black business man ceo downtown workspace proud confident arms crossedIMG_0418 (LinkedIn man in blue suit)An Indian business executive with folded arms

Remember that your LinkedIn profile picture will likely not be the same size as the original image, so pay attention to the background and finer details with an eye for the ultimate image as it will look when cropped to size. In image 3 above, the peeling paint (and tousled hair) add to the creative look of this shot, but otherwise the above backgrounds are interchangeable and not tied to the image each is hoping to portray. Some people like to have a background with more “visual information” while others prefer a clean, neutral look. Note that neither of the original shots for the first two images were centered, and in the second one the background could have been distracting in the original composition but it nonetheless works for LinkedIn.

Head And Shoulders Portrait Of Mature Businessman In OfficeSuccessful black business man ceo downtown workspace proud confident arms crossed

One last note, as I see this far too often on LinkedIn (and almost as much as a shot of someone with another person cropped out – don’t do that!). Make sure that when you take an image or have one taken of you, that the camera is or zooms in close enough to the subject so that the image does not look blurry or pixilated when cropped. Below is an extreme example, but I see this often with clients who have a spouse or friend take a picture and then send it to me for review. If you are out of focus, you will not project the confidence and presence that you wish to convey. 

IMG_0416 (pixilated enlargment man in suit)

This last image has another issue, of course, which is that it was cropped very close and has a very light background, so the person looks more like a talking head than a professional candidate.

If you would like to compare the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn profile pictures, you can also visit my prior articles on LinkedIn photos here and here.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and through local booksellers) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond.

 

Master the Interview: University of Chicago Webinar

I was honored to speak to University of Chicago alumni last month about highlights from my recent book, Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals.

If you are currently in the job search, looking opportunistically or willing to move for the right role, you will save yourself hours in your interview preparation – mitigating stress and uncertainty in the process and increasing your chance of a job offer – by watching and listening to the discussions in this webinar.

Here are two of the many points I make that will help “frame” your preparation:

  1. You are “on interview” well before you enter the actual interview room. It behooves you to take an expanded view of interviewing, from the initial contact with companies and networking (including social media) to your follow-up efforts thereafter.
  2. While you cannot anticipate every question that will be asked in an interview, you can have examples ready that align with your value proposition and are versatile enough to be responsive to a range of questions. Thinking about questions thematically will help you organize and bring more impact to your potential responses.

For the slides to follow along to the presentation (or speed up the learning process), please click here.

Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

What Does Your LinkedIn Photo Say About You? Beyond “Looking Good,” What Story Are You Telling?

As an executive coach and writer, I help people tell their own professional stories and present themselves in the best light.

Among other ways of interacting nowadays, social media is one of the key places we tell our stories. In the professional context, for many of us, a hub of such interactions is LinkedIn, and a personal photo serves as the centerpiece of any well-crafted LinkedIn profile.

Yet many of us give surprisingly little thought to our photos beyond whether they make us “look good.” Hair OK? Check. Don’t look old or fat? Check.  What little thought goes into the analysis – as I often find with friends or clients who ask me to review their photos – is not about expressing a personal brand but rather simply not embarrassing ourselves.

I speak from the heart on this one. Before attending law school (and completing a 15-year career as an attorney that led to executive coaching), I was an art and photography major, and I worked in several art-related settings, putting up “new masters” on the walls of museums, galleries and other locations. The idea of using your profile picture (or any other image) as a means of communication is in my blood.

Beautiful young adult lawyer business woman professional in a suit at the courthouse

I want to impart that knowledge to you, and I would like to do it in stages. Knowing that the best way to teach is to show, rather than start with my analysis of the images in this post, I will let them sit with you for a while. Draw your own conclusions, and feel free to post in the comments about what stories you believe these images tell and whether they appeal to you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

What impression do you have of the person in each of Images 1, 2 and 3?

Would you want to connect with him or her on a professional or personal level?

Does the cropping of the image change how the story is told?

If you saw this image, as a viewer, what recommendations would you make to improve it?

I will check back in next week with more thoughts. Thanks!

anne-marie-segal-2016-photo


Anne Marie Segal is a career and leadership development coach, author, resume strategist and member of Forbes Coaches Council. She is founder of Segal Coaching, author of Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals (available on Amazon.com) and a frequent public speaker in New York, Connecticut and beyond. 

Image credits above (other than of me): Adobe Images.

Leveraging the Pokémon Go Trend: Do It or Don’t Do It?

Young woman listening to music and walking along the street
Does she love the song or did she just find a PokéStop?

Pokémon Go

Can you ride the trend and retain your authenticity?

You can barely open a web browser without reading an article about Pokémon Go. In so-called breaking news, we hear reports of Pokémon Go breaking Apple download records, an inadvertent Canadian border crossing by teens playing Pokémon Go, police safety tips, and even the furrowed brows of Pokémon Go players in a border town near North Korea. Facebook carries Pokémon Go parodies, my favorite being Dena Blizzard’s Chardonnay Go, which has been viewed over 22 million times.

What does this mean for you?

Well, it depends whether you are someone who is more likely to use the app or write about it. If you are on the hunt, it means that you’re wrapped up in the latest craze just like many others, whether or not you actually derive joy from it. (And hopefully you do, since those hours in the day are yours to love or waste!)

Should you jump on the latest fad?

Businesswoman looking at phone while walking.
Where will our devices lead us next?

If you are involved with marketing and social media, the common wisdom is that you should post and tweet about trending topics such as Pokémon Go because this is what everyone is talking about. It makes you sound current. You turn up in searches. People devour news about Pokémon Go and drive hits to your site. In short, done well, it can provide a boost to your group of readers or followers because they find you (first of all) and, once you’re found, find what you are saying relevant.

You know instinctively, however, that if you aren’t careful, leveraging the latest fad can also make you sound like a parrot. So you should not simply find what is popular in the news and blast it out to your networks. What we hate most as readers is how the media, many Internet sites and others simply repeat the same news over and over, without any thought into what they are reporting or writing. As a participant in the online conversation, you need to add your voice, or you risk losing it. Leverage, yes, but artfully and with a purpose that is greater than self-promotion.

Your own voice must shine through. You risk losing your readership by parroting others rather than adding value.

What can you add to the conversation?

If you are someone who is working to be savvy about how social media can help you communicate your value proposition, you need to view yourself from the perspective of those with whom you are communicating. You will be most successful if you can determine how the latest news topics – Pokémon Go and otherwise – and other subjects can help demonstrate what you offer to your target audience. How can you dissect or elucidate a relevant topic in a way that resonates with your readers (and, in a business context, your clients) and brings them value?

Used strategically and thoughtfully, adding some popular culture to your communications will make your own message not only appear more relevant but actually be more meaningful to your audience. 

This strategy works for anyone, whether you are an app designer, CEO, journalist or corporate lawyer. A dry article about the legal implications of Pokémon Go will not garner a wide audience, of course, but quotes from a privacy expert on a hip Internet site certainly can. Used strategically and thoughtfully, adding some popular culture to your communications – i.e, discussing the things people love, fear, share and want to read in their leisure time – will make your own message not only appear more relevant but actually be more meaningful to your audience. 

Anne Marie Segal is a career coach and résumé writer for attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs. She is currently completing her first book, on job interviews, which will be available in early 2017. To join her monthly newsletter list and receive a preview of the chapter on value propositions, please click here and write “Book Preview” in the comments section.

© 2016 Anne Marie Segal. All rights reserved.
Image from Adobe Images.