How to make sure your LinkedIn headshot stands out
When on LinkedIn, we all know it’s important to have a top quality headshot.
After all, LinkedIn is a social media network for professionals. Not just for job hunting, but for making connections with relevant industry professionals and potential clients too.
So while I’ve discussed previously top tips for great LinkedIn headshots, I thought I’d discuss those little LinkedIn headshot thumbnails, and how to check that yours stands out.
Have you ever come across the LinkedIn Network page with all the suggested connections? It’s a great way to observe LinkedIn headshots. Thumbnails of headshots scroll down the page – with nothing but a name and headline snippet. It’s these headshots that also come across in your feed, in comments and groups, and ‘likes’. And they’re small. Teeny tiny. So if yours isn’t recognisable, if it looks like everyone else’s, or we can’t really see you, then it’s not doing you any favours.
So the benefit of having a great headshot on LinkedIn is the ability to build authority and become recognisable amongst your connections.
Think about it, if you’re posting and commenting with advice and expertise, as well as motivational support, you’re building up a rapport as a trustworthy person who dominates your field.
People are visual, and so while we quickly skim words and paragraphs, images are an instant communicator and they’re memorable. So when you’re offering your wisdom, people are remembering your headshot and your name. Have a memorable, high-quality headshot, and the link is complete.
So let’s have a look at what you can do to reap in the benefits of this.
5 things to think about to make sure your LinkedIn headshot thumbnail stands out:
You want your headshot thumbnail to become familiar, so when people see your posts and comments they know who you are, before even needing to read your name or click on your profile. Things like distinctive colours/backgrounds or your expression can help your headshot stand out – but otherwise, just make sure you look like you. We’re all unique.
Show off your face.
This follows on from the above. It is much harder to stand out and be recognisable when your LinkedIn profile photo doesn’t clearly show your face. You want a good head and shoulders crop, so we can see your eyes and expression and make a connection to you. Avoid mid-length and full-length shots. Even if it’s a full-length shot of you holding your fancy new award, or speaking at an event. Use those images on your cover banners.
High quality is a must.
Your headshot should be well defined – with crispness, clarity, and sharpness (especially in your eyes), and no distracting elements. Make sure your background is soft or blank – no office clutter detracting from you, or children in the backseat of the car. You want your image to be of a high standard – so nothing pixellated or blurry.
A professional headshot must be well lit. You’ll stand out if we can see your face really well. So no harsh shadows or crime-scene-drama lighting. Well-lit and well-exposed (yes, these two things are different) are two major factors in great headshot photography. If you want your LinkedIn thumbnail to stand out, then make sure you’ve nailed the lighting above anything else.
Think about colours.
Colour is a great way to branch out and be a little different. Coloured backgrounds don’t work for all industries and personalities, but it can certainly be a point of difference in a sea of thumbnails. Many people consider headshot photography ‘on a white background’. While there are many benefits to this it’s good to know it isn’t your only option. Think beyond your background too. Great use of colour includes what you’re wearing, and complimenting the entire shot with your skintone, hair colour and eye colour.
LinkedIn is a platform all about making connections, so it is important to consider how your headshot is doing that for you. If you’re engaging and adding value to LinkedIn, make sure your headshot is up to date, professional, and stands out too.