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Does your LinkedIn profile photo say, “Hire me?”

Your LinkedIn profile photo has a big impact on what others think of you before they read one word of your profile. This impression happens in the fraction of a second it takes for them to glance at your picture.

You want your picture to convey that you're a likeable, trustworthy, competent professional.

How can you make that happen? Here are 9 tips:

  1. Don’t take a selfie. It’s often very obvious that you’re holding the camera, and it looks less than professional. Have someone take the photo. It doesn’t have to be a professional…a friend will do. (Unless you have a prop and a timer.)
  2. Take a dedicated LinkedIn picture. Don’t just crop a group photo—even if you look great in it. It will almost always be pretty obvious, and it will look unprofessional. Be clear that you take your work seriously. No other people, dogs, vacation scenery, or other distractions.
  3. Dress in what you’d wear on the job. LinkedIn is for professional networking, so dress appropriately. For most people, that’s a suit or a collared shirt. Just like for an interview, think stylish but conservative, and generally darker colors.
  4. Pay attention to your background and lighting. You can either keep your background neutral and plain (best), or you can have a shot of you in a work setting. Indirect light is the most flattering.
  5. Aim for a head-and-shoulders shot. Too far away and it will be hard to really see your face. Too close and it just looks a little awkward.
  6. Smile! I’ve seen more than a few pictures of people who look angry or like they’re in pain. Fake smiles are just as bad. Smile a natural, easy smile, as if you’re saying hello to someone you’re just meeting (because you are).
  7. Before you take the photo, borrow a few confidence-boosting body language tips. Strike a few power poses and smile so you boost those happy hormones and feel more confident. It will show in your picture.
  8. Follow the rules of good photo taking. Look at the camera. Squint your eyes just slightly (squinching) and combine tilting your head and/or taking shots from slightly different angles to get the most flattering view of your face. But don’t get too artsy with it unless you’re in a creative field. Keep it simple.
  9. Even if you follow all the rules, how will you know you have a keeper? Run a test. Photofeeler allows you to collect votes on your picture (or pictures, if you can’t decide). Get unbiased opinions on whether you’re coming across as likeable, competent, or influential.

Does your LinkedIn profile sell you to recruiters and hiring managers? Polish it up with our LinkedIn Profile Tutorial.