After seeing too many executive LinkedIn photos that look like a hunting party or golf outing, I have to ask:

What message are you trying to send with your headshot?

If your LinkedIn photo makes others reluctant to network with you or persuades recruiters to pass you by, it’s worth a second look.

Ask yourself these questions to gauge the effectiveness of your Profile photo:

Does your Profile photo align with your target executive job?

Take the time to peruse your competitors for the same job. How are they dressed in the photo?

Are they smiling? Shown in black-and-white? Pictured against a colorful background or something less distracting?

This research should give you an idea of commonly accepted, branded executive headshot strategies used in your field and at your level.

Does your attire tell a story of leadership and business acumen?

Don’t leave this one to accident. LinkedIn is a business site. If you’re not wearing what you’d wear to the office (or to an interview), reconsider the message you’re sending with your clothing.

Also, look at the level of the role you’re considering, and assess how a change in attire could promote you as a leader ready for career advancement.

As examples, a COO might find that a conservative suit against a nondescript background is the best choice, while a Chief Marketing Officer may get better results wearing colorful attire in a bright, attention-getting shot.

Did you use a strategically chosen photo on LinkedIn?

Weddings, casual outings, or sports shots are great… for those purposes, but on LinkedIn? Not so much.

Particularly if there’s alcohol or a party atmosphere involved, putting awkwardly-personal photos on LinkedIn won’t make your case for a new professional role.

LinkedIn gives you a high-value opportunity to brand yourself through a visual image – don’t waste it! 

The clothing, backdrop, and demeanor displayed in your LinkedIn photo should be part of your overall strategy – not an afterthought.