New Jersey Headshots – The Five Types of LinkedIn Headshots

It’s important for professionals today to have a solid profile on LinkedIn where they can connect and network with other professionals. With this in mind, one of the biggest keys to an impactful profile is a great profile photo.

In fact, having a great profile photo may be the most important thing, according to Business Insider’s article showing an eye-tracking heatmap study by TheLadders.


“…recruiters spend 19 percent of the total time they spend on your profile looking at your picture.”

– Business Insider

That’s huge! Having a great headshot can be a powerful way to set yourself apart from the sea of often terrible profile images, and it’s the cornerstone of your personal brand. Here’s a quick rundown of five types of profile photos you’ll run into on LinkedIn, from the very worst up to the very best. Let’s get right to it!

The Non-Existant Headshot

These are the users who haven’t even chosen a profile photo. Their profile simply displays the default silhouette, and it’s not doing them any favors. 

Research suggests that simply having a profile photo causes a user to get 21X more views.  Essentially, if you’re in this category, you don’t exist on LinkedIn.  Other users aren’t sure if you are even active on the network, and they will likely skip over you! Guys, you can do better!

The Abysmal Headshot

Aside from the folks without actual profile photos, the Abysmal crowd is the worst. These consist of any number of awful images that leave the viewer with a terrible impression. Examples include:

  • The blurry cell phone shot from a bar
  • The wedding photo with your friend’s face scribbled out
  • The family photo with others visibly cropped out

Here, visitors know your account exists, but they aren’t likely to take you seriously. Even if you’ve spent hours populating your profile with details, it often gets overlooked by viewers because they’ve already gotten the impression you don’t take it seriously. 

The Unremarkable to Poor Profile Photo

This is a large category where profile images can range from satisfactory to just plain bad. These typically include:

  • The guy who stands next to a window and has it taken with a friend’s “really great camera”
  • The girl who has a friend who does “amazing family photography” with the photo of her laying next to a barn
  • The black and white image from 20 years ago, that just really needs to be updated. Everyone knows you don’t look like that anymore!
  • The creepy stare with the awful cloth background taken in at the same place that does passport photos

There’s just something not quite right with these images. People know it’s the case, but they just can’t quite put their finger on what it is. Is the color messed up, or the lighting not quite right?

So, are these shots hurting you? We’d argue yes. Some of the better images might work, but they might come off as a lazy attempt or elicit a chuckle or two. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t want someone chuckling at the part of my profile that someone is spending 19% of their time looking at.

If you want to come off as a solid professional, you need to invest the time into the right kind of image to represent your personal brand.

The Good Headshot

These are solid, professional shots that are “technically good.” The lighting is good, the expression is fine, and the person has taken the time to get it done right. These shots are fine by all accounts, and they aren’t hurting you. You are probably coming off professionally to your peers.

The one drawback here… Sure, these images are fine, but they won’t get you to stand out from the pack and get you noticed! Think mediocre or 2.5 kids and the white picket fence. Sure, plenty of people make it here, but a lot of others aim their sights on being exceptional. 

So, how exactly can you kick it up a notch or two? Read on!

The Exceptional Headshot

These are taken by photographers who specialize in headshots and experienced commercial photographers. To put it bluntly, they are just pretty much awesome. Sure, they look professional, crisp, and clean with a natural expression, but they also do something else…

Thes images communicate a message to the viewer about who you are. They carve out and emphasize your personal brand. How do you want to be seen?

  • Are you in a customer-facing role and want to appear warm and approachable?
  • Are you a seasoned C-suite executive who wants to come off as confident, polished, yet still likable? 

Think about it. Think about the professional leaders you aspire to be like. Think about the folks at the very pinnacles of their career. Really reach here. From ultra-rich folks on Shark Tank to the pioneers of industry like Steve Jobs.  We guarantee the people you are envisioning put the time and effort into cultivating their image, and they likely have many professional images. How many of these folks portray themselves with blurry camera phone images?  Exactly!

Below are some example of how an exceptional photo can take your professional image up a few notches from just plain Unremarkable or Good.

The Wrap Up

It’s clear that having a solid professional headshot is the best way to go for your LinkedIn profile photo, but we recommend that all of you aim to really be exceptional!  It’s like that old saying “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” 

Now it’s time for you to take action! Pass this one along to those friends of yours who desperately need that updated headshot! You know which ones we’re talking about! It’s time guys! And, if that someone is you…

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