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Tips for Academics: Taking the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

Your picture is one of the most important feature of your LinkedIn profile. It is your first opportunity to say that you are knowledgeable and personable. Not having a picture also makes it enormously difficult for people to find you, especially if you have a common name. In fact, LinkedIn estimates that a profile picture is associated with up to 21 times more profile view, 36 times more messages and 9 times more connection requests.

You do not need a professional photographer to take your shots. Smartphones and DSLR camera do the trick just fine. Just ask a friend, colleague or assistant (who knows how to handle a camera) to help you out. The guiding principle of the shots:

  • Be front and centre and the focus of the picture;
  • Use a well lit room, it’s the difference between a good a great photo;
  • Absolutely no selfie;
  • Take many shots in different rooms and conditions then ask your friends to pick the best one.

Only crop your face and shoulders

The main idea of a profile picture is to be recognized by your peers. Make sure that your picture only includes your head and the top of your shoulders. Since the box is small, having a full body shot will make you unrecognizable.

Smile with your eyes

The whole face is involved in a heart fell smile; from the mouth to the wrinkle at the edge of your eyes. To recreate this look when smiling, make sure to squint your eyes, as well as showing teeth.

Keep the camera at eye level

You will look small and submissive if the image is taken too high, and uncomfortably dominant if it is too low. To capture a natural looking pose, keep the camera at eye level.


As the old adage says, dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have. Make sure to dress professionally and wear solid colours. Outfits may includes wearing a shirt, blouse or even a suite. If you are a woman avoid wearing a strapless dress or top since you might appear naked.

We also suggest that you use the photo shoot as an excuse to pamper yourself. Before the big day, schedule a spa treatment to make your skin look radiant.


The focus should be on you so keep the background simple. If you want to put a bit of character, take a picture at your work space (i.e. laboratory, near a bookcase, classroom…) use an app like AfterFocus (Android & iOS) to slightly blur the background.

Reuse the picture

Consistency is essential when building your person brand. We recommend reusing the same profile picture in all your social network.