The Importance of a Good LinkedIn Headshot

By: Sebastian Leung

Perhaps you’ve read the blog post about becoming a LinkedIn expert and you’ve followed all the steps. Your LinkedIn profile is looking nice and professional, and you’re making new connections every day. But one of the things that is often overlooked, regardless of how awesome your profile may look, is the headshot. Maybe your headshot right now is a selfie taken on your smartphone, or a picture from a family vacation that you look great in. Most of the time, people just use whatever picture they have on hand to avoid the trouble of getting a professional photo taken. But did you know that your LinkedIn headshot is one of the most important parts of making a good impression on employers? This is because it’s one of the first things an employer will notice on your profile, and their first impressions of you will come from the photo.


So what can you do to make the best first impression?


  • Dress for the job you want. Your attire is an extremely important part of having a professional photo. Surprisingly enough, this doesn’t mean that you have to wear a formal suit and tie that you may see on most people’s profiles. Instead, you should research what people in the industry typically wear. Another great blog by Megan Manulas will help you navigate the dress code for each industry. People in the creative field tend to dress more casually, so if you’re looking to do that you should dress casually as well. However, if you want to be a corporate lawyer, a business suit would be more appropriate.
  • No group photos. Your LinkedIn photo is about you presenting yourself as a professional, not anyone or anything else. Don’t use a group photo and crop others out. Find a photo with you and you alone in it.
  • Proper background and lighting. You don’t want to have a photo of you taken at the club, a dark alley or anything that would emulate a negative connotation in a professional context. Make sure you have a neutral background, or use a professional backdrop. Also, it is important to have a good amount of lighting so your whole face is shown.
  • Hire a professional. The best way to get a professional headshot taken is, surprise, to hire a professional! But often times, photographers will charge up to $300 dollars for a headshot – and money is something that college students usually don’t have a lot of. Did you know, though, that at Macaulay’s career fairs, you can get your headshot taken for free? As a Macaulay student, take advantage of one of the many resources Macaulay has to offer! You should definitely come to the next Career Fair on Friday, March 1st from 9am – 2pm


Here’s an example of a bad headshot vs. a good one*.


*The good photo was taken at the last career fair


Bad Headshot Good Headshot
Poor lighting and background Good lighting, Neutral background
Looking in other direction Looking at camera/viewer
Inappropriate attire Professional attire

The best piece of advice to keep in mind is to simply keep your photo professional, presenting yourself as you would if you were working at your dream job.


Interested in writing a blog for the Career Development blog? It’s open to Macaulay students and alums. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, feel free to email