Pics for LinkedIn and Your Resume: 2 for the price of 1

Take and choose a photo for your LinkedIn profile and resume November 17, 2023 · 9 min read

If you want to go for a personal touch on your CV and LinkedIn profile, adding a professionally shot photo is a quick and easy trick. For a LinkedIn profile, a headshot is pretty much obligatory, but for your CV it’s a judgment call that only you can make.

We’re going to go through the ways that a resume and LinkedIn photo need to be different, where the crossovers are, and what are the tricks to achieve perfection for both.

We’ll hit seven essential questions you’re going to be asking, so stick with us and read about the perfect picture that’ll help you land your dream role. Besides, we share some pro tips which will help you to create the right impression with your resume photo or Linkedin profile image.

A photo in your LinkedIn will definitely attract the attention of recruitersA photo in a resume and professional social networks will definitely attract the attention of recruiters and employers when they consider your candidacy.

First, let’s hit the basics.

What’s required?Resume PhotoLinkedIn Headshot
Is it obligatory?Including a picture is only necessary in certain countries, but there are countries where it’s better to avoid adding a photo completely. This is an absolute must. If you don’t include a photo on your LinkedIn profile, it’s going to look like a fake profile.
Perfect photo formatUse a professional or selfie headshot and make sure it reflects your professional self.Use a high-quality image, and if possible, use a professional headshot - no office party group shots.
Can I get creative?No. Keep it formal, even if it’s expected in the country you’re applying in they still have expectations. Yes. On LinkedIn, you can add a background photo to your profile; choose one that isn’t distracting and matches up to the industry you work in.

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. We’re going to cover all the essentials:

For both your CV and your LinkedIn photos. Let’s do this…

What is a good resume photo?

If you’re going to be including a photo with your CV, it needs to be fit for purpose - as obvious as that sounds you’d be surprised how many people forget this. Poolside selfies and candid drunk shots aren’t the images you want to give your potential employer.

Ask someone for help. Bring in your squad to help you take the photo so you don’t get selfie arms or lose focus when trying to deal with timer issues - you need to work on your “hire me” smile.

You need to get a photo that’s taken from the front and includes your head and shoulders. Don’t go for a passport photo shot or “Florida Man” mugshot look, these are staid and boring. Look natural, and smile!

Photos in a natural setting aren’t a definite no-no, but still, keep it professional and well-shot, a sloppy image reflects badly on you and you won’t get hired.

LinkedIn and resume photo is not the same as your personal social networks pics.The purpose of photography for resumes and LinkedIn is significantly different from the purpose of photography for personal social networks.

How do I pose for a resume or Linkedin profile photo?

The pose you strike is all important. Don’t squeeze yourself into contortions: you’re not applying to the Cirque du Soleil.

You obviously want to show your best side but sucking in your tummy or clenching anything is pulling your focus away from what’s important - your personality.

Every day you see people overposing on social media and we all know how obvious it looks, so for your CV and LinkedIn photos, you need to go for the natural look. Stand up straight, put a little lift in the chin, relax your shoulders, and look right into the camera. Keep it as a headshot, the full-body, the money shot isn’t going to land you your dream career.

Shoot from the waist up. Profile photos should be just that, your profile. A full body shot won’t win you any points and take up space where your achievements could be listed.

What are the rules for good lighting?

When you splash the cash on a professional shoot, the big thing you’re getting out of it is a decent lighting rig. The ideal setting is to be indoors but with plenty of natural light streaming in. Lamps and other bits of photography kit can help give a little boost if needed, but that’ll be taken care of for you if you’re paying top dollar to a photography studio.

If you go the selfie route, stand directly opposite your source of natural light; this isn’t the time for moody silhouettes. You’re aiming to get the light on the “planes” of your face, that’s your cheeks and brow bones, but don’t go for a fully side-on angle. You can use a flash if it’s really necessary and an outside location - as long as it’s not too busy and distracting - is ok.

Positive expressions equal positive results. Always think about the impression you’re making. You want to look credible, nice, and the perfect candidate in your field. Smile but don’t go overboard, looking forced isn’t good. Keep it relaxed and positive.

The chief of the top recruitment website should have the perfect profile shot, and Jeff Weiner has definitely got it going on in his profile.

What do I wear for my professional photo?

Because you’re aiming for a multi-purpose image that works for LinkedIn and your CV, aim for a simple and professional style. For colors, go for black or navy blue with a white shirt or top and simple, understated accessories. You’re not here to show off your bling to your next boss.

If clothes reflect the essence of your profession, in some cases, it is suitable for resume photos.If clothes reflect the essence of your profession, in some cases, it is suitable for resume photos.

Busy patterns can be distracting and don’t always turn out well - go for block colors. All eyes should be on your face and your eyes, it’s time to bare your soul to the people hiring you. Once you’ve got the job you can break out the wardrobe classics, you need to get into the office first.

Keep hair and makeup neutral. You’re not expected to go get a plain Jane dye job, but if you’ve got a funky, unusual style it’s worth pulling it back and toning it down a little - your smile should be the winner here. This isn’t Saturday night on the town so keep make-up to “natural look” levels.

Is a Linkedin photo with sunglasses OK?

Put simply, no. The same goes for wearing a hat; avoid at all costs. Both items are going to hide or obscure your face and can make you look messy. If you truly think you need sunnies and a hat for your photo maybe it’s time to move the shoot indoors so you can focus on your face.

Resume photos - good and badThe ideal variant of resume photography is a fresh photo with a clear image of your face.
Cover what’s needed. Sadly, there’s still judgment about facial tattoos and piercings, so try and remove or cover them where possible. It’ll make your first impression look more serious and considered.

What is the optimum size for the picture?

On your resume, you have limited space and a lot to say about yourself, and LinkedIn has actual size restrictions on the site that you need to consider. The star on your CV should be your skills, work history, professional experience, and qualifications.

Fill your CV with a huge photo and you lose space to really show yourself off. Find a balance between a clear photo representing you and not wasting valuable space. As a rule of thumb, passport-sized pics are ideal.

Keep the right parameters. The perfect size for your shot on the LinkedIn profile is 400 x 400 pixels. You can go bigger, but there’s a limit of 8MB, and also don’t go too low res and pixelate yourself. For a CV, the passport standard of 2 x 2 inches should work just right.

Where to put a photo in a resume?

When you’ve decided to add your photo to your resume, follow this advice. The best option is to put it up in the top third of the page, with the perfect placement in the top right-hand corner. If you offset it, there’s still loads of space for the main text of your CV.

It’s also a great place to add your contact details like email and phone number and include a brief personal statement. It’s also ok to add it to the left or right of the header.

It’s best to place the photo on the first page at the top of the document.It’s best to place the photo on the first page at the top of the document. Whether to put it in the center or in the corner, depends on your preference.

From a tech perspective, make sure you drop it in the software program you’re using to create the document so you can crop and get the placement just right when you make edits. Always do a print out too, so you can check things like margins and proportions.

Lack of picture is a risk. A recruiter will give your LinkedIn profile more attention if there’s a photo there. It’s a fact that profiles that have a photo uploaded are 21 times more likely to be clicked on.

Wrapping Up

Whether we like it or not, society still judges people on their looks, be it in a bar, on the beach, or in the office. There’s not much any one individual can do to change it, but you can use this information to your advantage and work the system to your benefit. Knowing the rules means you’ll make the best impression.

A well-taken photo for your LinkedIn profile and resume will give recruiters the first impression of you - make it the right one. To make sure you’re going down the right track, here’s a final overview of exactly what you’re aiming for:

  • Frame from the waist up
  • Wear professional attire
  • Face the camera and smile with your eyes
  • Show your face
  • Use appropriate lighting
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile or resume photo is up-to-date
  • Use a neutral background
  • Do the full-body shot
  • Make a picture in your PJs
  • Show your “mouth open, head back” monster laugh
  • Hide your face with the sunglasses or any filter
  • Choose poorly-lit or blurry pictures
  • Include a pretty childhood pic
  • Let the background take central stage

You’re going to have a thousand questions as you prepare to take the photo that could, quite literally, make your dream career happen. What to wear, what file size, how to shoot, how to smile - all will whiz through your head at some point. Don’t jump to conclusions too early!

Follow the advice given below. We aim to have covered the hot topics and hit all the essentials you’ll be wondering so now all that’s left is to wish you the best of luck landing that gig you’ve always wanted!

SweetCV team
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SweetCV team
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