Is Your LinkedIn Profile Photo As Good As You Think?

New LI Headshot post image

Like most of my colleagues, I tell my clients that having a photo on their LinkedIn profile is essential. For one thing, it improves your visibility. Profiles with profile pictures can get up to 21 times more views than profiles without them, according to LinkedIn.

A strong, engaging profile photo can help you get a job or land new clients. It’s the first thing recruiters see when searching LinkedIn for potential candidates. It’s the first thing people who’ve been given your name see when they visit your profile to learn more about you. If you don’t have a photo, most people will wonder why.

Your LinkedIn profile represents you on the business world stage. So, it’s important to post a headshot with a professional yet approachable look. While “professional” varies by industry, smiles are universal.

While I know all this and preach it to my friends and clients, I was surprised at the impact things like a photo’s background had on people’s opinions. Although, I’m not big on sharing photos of myself, I thought providing this example was worth it.

After dropping 10 pounds, I was eager to have an updated photo across my social media platforms. I took a few photos and then uploaded each one to Canva, where I was able to remove my unattractive office background and incorporate others.

Next, as I suggest to my friends and clients, I ran each photo through Photofeeler to get objective opinions. While Photofeeler has free and paid options, I choose to pay for 40 or more credits (views) for each test. That’s the number Photofeeler recommends for reliable results.

The photos were #1) natural air-dried hair, casual top with a plain background #2) blow-dried hair, dark long-sleeved top with a plain background, and #3) the same photo as #2 with bookcases in the background. Here are my photos and the Photofeeler results.

Photo #1
Photofeeler Annette 1
Photo #2
Photofeeler Annette bookcases correct
Photo #3

As you can see, viewers’ reactions to my photos were quite different. I was most surprised by the disparity between photos #2 and #3 where the only change was the background.

So when your coach or resume writer pushes you to upload a headshot to LinkedIn, believe them. Take a few photos or have them taken by a pro. Pay attention to things like the photo’s background. Don’t rely only on what your friends think; they already like you. Get some objective opinions.

While your headshot doesn’t need to be taken by a professional photographer, people who view your profile must think you look professional in it.

(Updated 9/30/22)