Congratulations if you’re getting ready to graduate, graduated recently, or wear your cap and gown regularly because you think it makes you look smart. (You should probably stop that.) With a college degree in hand, you’ve already nailed the first qualification for most of the jobs you’re looking for. Next up is polishing up your LinkedIn profile. We’re gonna turn you into an amazing profile pic maker with some shooting tips and a little photo editing magic.
First things first:
1. Don’t go no photo
Whatever you do, don’t turn your LinkedIn profile loose in the job biome without a photo. Accepting the designation of LinkedIn’s default Mr. Empty Head graphic shows that you don’t care about presenting yourself well, and that the smaller details of completing an assignment escape you.
2. Say no to scans
Try not to scan a photo to your computer for a profile picture. Scanners can make photos elongated and stretched out, and taking a picture of a picture often adds glare. Keep it profesh and eliminate any floating orbs of light.
3. Serve it fresh
Avoid repurposing profile pictures from other social media sites. Potential employers can do a reverse image search to see what you’ve been posting on your personal social networks, and research has shown that this doesn’t always bode well for the job seeker.
4. Look behind you
Got a photo showing a perfect expression and even perfecter lighting? Check what’s showing in the background. If you can see beaches, bars, or fraternity houses, nix it and find another one. Or shoot it yourself.
If you’re shooting a new profile pic:
5. Dress the part
Make sure your outfit is appropriate for the career you want: no nightclub attire unless you actually want to work in a nightclub, and no vampire fangs unless you wanna work in a blood bank. Black and dark blue are flattering colors for most people, but make sure your outfit doesn’t blend in with your surroundings. No disembodied heads, please!
6. Pose for poise
Strike a confident pose for the camera. Tilting one shoulder slightly away from the camera creates depth and interest. It’s best to look directly at the camera with a gentle but not crazy-wide smile. (See How to Look Better in Pictures for more posing tips.)
7. Project yourself
Jobs are about more than just qualifications: you’re a human with thoughts and ideas and an actual personality! So when that shutter snaps, let loose a chuckle, an earnest gaze, or a wry grin; anything that gives a glint of the real you.
When it’s time to edit:
8. Stop to crop
Crop your image so it’s square and ideally 500 x 500 pixels. LinkedIn will accept pics as low as 100 x 100px, but at that size it’s likely to look blurry. Crop the photo to display only your head and shoulders, especially if you’re using a group pic. Glimpses of your friends’ arms make for a distracting (and creepy) shot.
9. Black and whoa!
Black and white photos are legit for LinkedIn, and can offer a striking, documentary-esque look to your profile. Make sure the background offers contrast to your photo subject (you). A great black and white filter in PicMonkey’s photo editing arsenal is Daguerreotype – the Brady option – which is magically flattering with portrait shots.
10. Easy on the effects
Photo effects undoubtedly amp up your pic with artistry and style. But be judicious: over-edited photos look cheesy and out of touch. A simple one-click effect like Orton or Cross Process can do the job handily. Also check out our arsenal of touchup tools.