The first time I was recognized in person by my LinkedIn photo, I loved it.

Before attending a mentoring workshop, I connected with the presenter on LinkedIn. During the introduction, his eyes stopped on me in the audience and he said, “hey, Kerri.” I smiled and waved and he continued his presentation.

It is important to look like your LinkedIn picture because ideally, you want to move the LinkedIn relationship to the next level – in person. I see people missing the mark on their photo if they have one, and you need to have one.

1. Dress appropriately for the profession you are in.

If your LinkedIn strategy (you have a strategy, right?) is to connect with people and market yourself, your photo needs to support that. If you are currently in a coordinator role in a casual environment but want to be a manager, wear a suit in your LinkedIn photo (or at least a dress shirt). Appropriate doesn’t mean boring or dull, but dress for the standard in your industry, plus a dash of your personal style.

I am a Job Search Strategist whose biggest selling feature is my relatable style. I get business and my clients land their ideal jobs, but first, they get a warm introduction as I learn about them and their career goals. My picture shows me smiling. It says “call me, I can help.” I have offices behind me because you know, business.

My husband, who is a graphic designer uses this picture.

It may seem inappropriate but it is on brand for him. He doesn’t do conservative design work. His designs are edgy and he works in tech. He has a great sense of humor. If he were looking for a new job in a different sector he might change it. But he isn’t.

2. You should be the focus of the picture.

Don’t crop anyone out of the photo. It makes you look less professional. Get someone to take a handful of shots of you and choose the best one. Depending on the role you are going for, consider hiring a professional photographer for a headshot session.

3. It should be recent.

Some people choose a photo where they look younger, more stylish, thinner, fatter, any version that is not current. Don’t be that person. Look how you will look when they run into you at an event. Be recognizable.

4. Smile, if you can.

You are on a networking site and want to appear open for connections. Smiles are inviting. If you never smile, try to just smile with your eyes for a warmer picture. I have had people ask to connect to me whose pictures look like a  bad passport photo. You are allowed to show you are human in your picture. It is encouraged!

Follow these four tips to make a positive first impression on LinkedIn.

Do you have any other LinkedIn photo tips? Is there something you see in LinkedIn photos that you love or hate?