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I Let My Best Friend, Mom, and Professor Pick My LinkedIn Profile Picture

May 12th, 2017 at 2:00am

I’ve spent all four years of school trying to build my resume and gain experience. Now that college is coming to an end for me, I have to make sure my LinkedIn profile is just as ready for applying for jobs as I am. Your resume could be stacked, but your LinkedIn profile picture is going to be the first thing that stands out to companies checking you out. So which photo should you use to represent you?

After reading a recent study about the science behind having others pick your profile picture for dating apps, I figured to apply the same logic to courting perspective employers. So I turned to three totally different and trusted individuals in my life to help me decide on what image to use in my LinkedIn profile. Let’s see what my best friend, mom, and professor had to say.

Best Friend. My best friend Marissa and I are always feeding off of each other’s successes. Whenever one of us strives for a class or an internship, it encourages us to go out and do it for ourselves as well. We are both role models and cheerleaders for each other, and that’s why she’s my go to when deciding on what picture will best represent me.

Your best friend will also know all of your best angles, and how to actually hold a camera. If your best friend is like mine, she will know all of the clothes in your closet and can immediately visualize what will look the best on you.

Marissa admits that what you wear will make or break the photo. “Dress like you’re going to an interview for your dream job, and have a solid background,” she says. “You don’t necessarily need to show full body but waist-up will probably work”. The key to composing a great photo is to put off your character and style, but in a modest and sophisticated way.

My Mom. My parents are always pushing me to accomplish what they know I can achieve in the future, and the first to make sure that I’m staying on track, which is why I value my Mom’s opinion when selecting a LinkedIn photo. Also, my future employers are likely to be around my Mom’s age, and she may have a better perspective of how I should present myself to older generations. Yeah, I might think I look trendy and cool in certain pictures that my friends take of me, but from a professional standpoint, it’s good to take opinions for someone who knows what an employer is looking for. I called my Mom to get some pointers for an ideal shot, and here’s how she weighed in.

“Spend money on a photographer or even trade photoshoots with your friends to save money,” she says. It’s worth either a little money or a little planning time to achieve the look that says, “Sure, I may just be graduating from college, but I have my ‘ish’ together.”

When it comes to your outfit, you’ll want to wear something that focuses more on your professional life. Yes, your nose ring says a lot about your individual personality, but it may give potential future employers the absolute wrong first impression. “You really want to have your body of work and experiences to speak about you, and not your headshot. That is the point. Your headshot should be much like the icing on top of a fancy cupcake.”

Teacher. I’m grateful to have a professor in my life who understands the industry. Besides being a teacher, she’s worn many hats in the Public Relations industry, that I’ll be a part of very soon. She absolutely has an idea of what to look for in a profile shot, so I checked in with Dr. McBride to get her tips on how to construct the ideal LinkedIn picture to nail that first post-grad job.

“I’m surprised how many graduates are using ‘selfies’ for their profile picture. You should create a formal headshot that is modest and profession,” she says. “Keep your picture as modest and professional as you can until after you get your first job in the industry.” Make sure that your work experience speaks for yourself and once you get more traction in your field, you can start expressing yourself more in your professional photos.

Hopefully with their advice coupled with my resume and a lot of prayer, I will soon be on my way to landing my first j-o-b.

And if you have any other advice on how to utilize LinkedIn, help a friend out and let me know in the comments below!