How to Land a Job With Your LinkedIn Profile Picture

Research shows the things that may help or hurt your job prospects.

ByABC News
October 20, 2015, 12:50 PM
This May 8, 2014 photo shows an exterior view of the LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View , Calif.
This May 8, 2014 photo shows an exterior view of the LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View , Calif.
AP Photo

— -- Are you looking for a new job? Well, your LinkedIn profile photo may be as important as your resume.

"I think this is especially important for the younger generation of job seeker, who has grown up posting photos with friends to social media," said Kyle Kensing, online content editor at "I'd say for these job seekers, the advice I'd give personally: Think of your typical Instagram photo then do the exact opposite."

Here are some tips to improve your odds of landing that dream job:

1. Wear glasses.

Women who wear glasses in their LinkedIn profile pictures can be perceived as having more expertise and also more attractive than those not wearing them, according to a small study of 139 participants.

Sarah van der Land, assistant professor of organizational and corporate communication at Erasmus University, analyzed what LinkedIn profile users could do to land that job, or at least make a great first online impression. She showed study participants ages 18 to 55 photos of LinkedIn profile pictures. Some of the people in the images wore glasses. She asked participants to imagine they were recruiters for three positions: an architectural firm, a back office bank cashier and a model at a promotion agency.

The participants perceived that people who wore glasses had greater "expertise." She notes that a job candidate's perceived credibility can be a significant predictor of the intention of inviting a candidate for an interview. One critical note is that these effects are stronger online, van der Land said.

"In an online context, you only have one chance to make a good impression, so you better have a good profile picture. But in person, the effects are more nuanced," she said.

She is now studying how a photo can influence a job candidate's advantage even with a mediocre resume.

2. Beards could help.

According to a study conducted last year by van der Land in the Netherlands, 216 study participants found bearded candidates are perceived as having more expertise than clean-shaven candidates.

But, van der Land notes, "Beards are very much a cultural thing. In the U.S., beards are perceived differently. In Europe, there is a hipster movement of beards but also the Greek philosophers had them. In America, the standard is to be clean shaven."

3. Dress the part.

Keep it professional.

"Make sure the clothes aren’t too tight or too loose," said Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing and recruiting firm headquartered in Chicago. "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Don’t let it hurt your chances of getting an interview. Chances are if you think it’s inappropriate, it is. It’s not worth the risk."

4. Appear approachable.


"At the end of the day, people want to work with people they like," Gimbel said. "Potential employers could be turned off if someone looks too rigid in their photo."

5. Keep it current.

"If your current picture looks like it’s from the 70s, it’s time to change it. The profile picture should reflect current times," Gimbel said.

6. Don’t use a selfie.

Going with a professional headshot is always best, though that’s not always an option.

"Have a friend take the picture for you and choose a background that isn’t distracting," Gimbel said. "Candidates who use selfies appear unprofessional, and companies may assume that means you’re not serious about your job search."

LinkedIn offered its own advice for job seekers:

"Natural light: It's is your best friend, so stay away from the flash. South-facing windows are perfect, as light will you hit straight on and compliment your face. Avoid direct sunlight as shadows can be harsh on faces."

Follow what’s known as the rule of thirds: "This means that your eyes should be one third of the way down from the top of the photo and off to one side. This provides a more interesting photograph and probably a more flattering angle. Also give yourself plenty of distance between yourself and the lens so you can crop the picture later if necessary," LinkedIn advises.