LinkedIn Photo Tips from a Recruiter

Recently, we interviewed Terrance Jeanisse, a recruiter from Link Staffing on his thoughts LinkedIn photos.  

How does the LinkedIn photo influence your feelings about a candidate as a recruiter?

LinkedIn is one of the first places that a recruiter will go when deciding on the correct applicant for a vacancy.  As a hiring authority, this decision is huge because of the cost associated with hiring staff as well as the effects that bringing on the wrong team members could have on an organization’s culture.  For these reasons, the recruiter will want to do as much research as possible on an applicant before making their final decision.  LinkedIN allows recruiters to verify the data shared on a resume, possibly determine what others have to say about the job seeker, and even develop a personal feeling about the applicant’s personality.  The recruiter will gain a sense of personality from the applicant predominantly based on their profile picture, and this feeling will serve as the official first impression


Is there any additional guidance that can help a job seeker to select the correct photo?

  1. You must have a photo

It is unacceptable not to have a photo on LinkedIN.  Doing this almost has the same effect as just not having one at all or even worst.  If the hiring authority can’t go to the LinkedIN page and get that first impression of the applicant that they came for; they still will leave with a first impression.  Not having a picture tells recruiters that the applicant isn’t truly a professional, they don’t care about how the public perceives them, and that the job seeker doesn’t understand how to brand themselves properly.  Job seekers have to understand this is the image and first impression that a recruiter leaves with when there is no picture to view.


  1. Being pretty isn’t the most important part of the picture

The correct photo should be on LinkedIn. Before posting a picture, ask yourself:

  • Is this picture professional?
  • What will others have to say about this picture?
  • Will it likely be the same thing that I am saying about it?


  1. Don’t be afraid to show personality

Don’t be scared of being yourself in your picture!  The goal is to have a comfortable combination of professionalism and personality blended for a LinkedIN


  1. Ensure that the photo is consistent with your story and is current

Job seekers in the food service industry such as a cook may want to wear their uniform in the photo because it helps to solidify and align them with their trade. However, the best look for someone in retail would likely be semi-formal dress attire and a vibrant smile or facial expression.  A retail professional wouldn’t want to overdress the role that they are seeking but would want to ensure that a recruiter can imagine them giving great customer service which is why it would be important to look friendly.  Photos of an artist should be creative while those of a senior executive should be 100% professional.


What advice would you give to job seekers to look their best in photos on LinkedIn?


5. Make sure to wear the correct attire!

The selection of clothing should be based on your industry.  For example, fashion professionals should wear clothing that is up to date and full of style.  However, a manager in the public service industry should stick to the suit or dress shirt approach.


6. Don’t overdress.

Remember that simple is best!  Stay away from too much or large jewelry, loud clothing colors, and distracting hairstyles.  All of these approaches can take away from the quality of the job seeker by giving the recruiter a distraction.


7. Control what’s behind you!

The background of a picture could also be a distraction to the recruiter. Likewise, it could also be a hindrance on the first impression, and a job seeker should avoid this at all cost.  The best background is one color, in a staged setting such as with a photographer, or simply with a solid wall as the background.  You don’t have to go and get professional head shots for a LinkedIN photo, but it is the ideal way to go to ensure the best quality.


8. The job seeker should be the only person in the picture.

The picture shouldn’t include co-workers, family members, pets, or anything else that is not the job seeker.  Anything other than the job seeker in the picture is a distraction and puts the first impression in jeopardy. Also, job seekers should try to crop things out of a picture and use it as the profile picture. Professionals shouldn’t post pictures that look like someone was standing a side of them and got cut out, or that looks like filters were used to create the final image.


9. Control your face.

Make an attempt to look approachable in your picture. A genuine smile helps in this area because smiling at least tells a recruiter that the applicant is likely polite and friendly. Smiling is not for everyone and is not mandatory. If the job seeker is not going to smile, he/she should make sure to have an excited tone on their face. The goal is to avoid facial expressions that others may decide reflects an attitude problem, anti-social, or unapproachable.