7 LinkedIn Profile Picture Tips for Freelancers

As someone who works with and hires freelancers on a daily basis, I have seen great, good, so-so, and awful profile pics. So as a public service, I’m sharing 7 LinkedIn profile picture tips. It’s a list of dos and don’ts that will help you come across as the professional that you are.

If you want to see actual examples of good LinkedIn profile pics, then check out our Team page. You’ll see quite a few examples of flattering head shots.

LinkedIn Profile Picture Tips for Freelance Translators and Editors

1. Upload a Picture

Okay, this is more than a tip. It’s an order.

A picture of yourself is the easiest way to make a good first impression. The right LinkedIn profile picture can help you (it says “I’m friendly and professional”), while an unflattering pic does the opposite (“I don’t shave or bathe regularly).

If you don’t upload a profile picture, I think that either a) you don’t want to take the 30 seconds needed to do it or b) you don’t know how to.

Neither one works in your favor.

2. Smile

Why are you wearing your game face, tough guy? I don’t want to fight you. I want to work with you.

The men are by far the worst offenders here. No, your furrowed brow and pursed lips don’t make you look serious, professional, or “no-nonsense.” In fact, they make you look constipated.

Out of all the LinkedIn profile picture tips that I could possibly give you, this one is crucial. Show that you’re someone who people would want as a colleague.

LinkedIn profile picture tips, tip #2

Never underestimate the power of a smile. Remember: being friendly and being professional aren’t mutually exclusive.

3. Crop Out Your Boyfriend

Your picture is a reflection of you in a professional capacity, not anyone else.

Do you work with your boyfriend, wife, kids, or best buddy? I didn’t think so. So why are they in your profile pic?

If you want me to take you seriously as a potential collaborator, freelancer for hire, intern, etc., then the picture needs to be of you.

4. Lose the Webcam

Yes, it’s easy and free to use a webcam, but the pictures that it takes often look grainy or otherwise lo-res. Especially in the bleak fluorescent lighting found in your home office.

If you don’t have any professional head shots, then pay a photographer to shoot you. See tip 5.

5. Hire a Photographer

There’s the free option (like using a webcam in low light)—and then there’s spending $100 for a one-hour shoot with a professional photographer.

The first option often makes you look like a) a cheapskate, b) an amateur, or c) a psychopath. The second option makes you look like a pleasant professional. In short, someone who people actually want to work with.

If people make judgments on appearances, would you rather that they see a pic of you that is well composed and well lit—and one in which you’ve actually shaved? Or the midnight selfie you took with your iPhone while binge-watching “Game of Thrones” and snarfing Häagen-Dazs?

I’ll even make it easy for you: you can enter your ZIP code on this page and browse professional photographers in your area.

LinkedIn profile picture tips, tip #5

Hire a professional photographer, with or without product in his hair.

6. Don’t Seduce Your Future Employer

This one is more applicable for the women reading this. You don’t need to turn away from the camera, then spin your head towards it, eyes half-closed, flashing a coy smile and making your hair fan out like the models do in L’Oréal commercials.

LinkedIn profile picture tips, tip #6

You see this photo? It’s of a woman flirting with the camera. LinkedIn is not for flirting. Don’t use a profile picture like this.

You’re trying to put yourself in a good professional light, not seducing someone on a dating website. In fact, don’t use a profile pic from a dating site. Just don’t use it. It’s not appropriate.

7. Brush Your Teeth

There has to be a photo of you without spinach stuck in your teeth. There just has to be.

In the workplace (actual or virtual), appearances matter. Of course, looking sharp doesn’t guarantee that someone will connect with you or hire you.

But looking like a slob, seductress, or Mafia hit man pretty much guarantees that hiring managers and agency owners won’t take you seriously. (Unless you somehow manage to look like all three—in which case, you have talent!)

If you liked these LinkedIn profile picture tips, then share them with your fellow freelancers!