Should my LinkedIn photo be more casual because of covid-19?

Contractor’s Question: Some because of covid, some because their clientele has changed, IT contractors I know have made their LinkedIn photo more informal. They’ve not quite gone for ripped Guns N’ Roses T-shirts, but one contact who now displays the ‘#Open to Work’ feature on their LinkedIn profile has morphed from a suit and tie to the comfy pullover-and-coffee-mug-look. Should I go casual too?

Expert’s Answer: The LinkedIn photograph is an essential component of a contractor’s LinkedIn profile. It is statistically proven that those who have a positive photograph increase engagement and the number of opportunities that come their way.

Covid is causing many to ask…

So the question is, ‘What sort of photograph on LinkedIn should contractors opt for?’ And it’s a question that the coronavirus pandemic is forcing people to ask themselves again.

One LinkedIn user I half-know has decided that the perfectly-polished, power pose of her in a striking three-piece suit is no long an accurate, authentic or humble reflection of her today – working remotely, often at home, sometimes with children in tow! “The person I once was, is not always who I am now,” she says.

Is your personal brand ‘blank’?

But I would also add that for contractors, on top of the circular profile picture, the background image of the LinkedIn profile is very important too. This is the rectangular area behind your photo which defaults to blue with white lines and dots. It is not supposed to be left blank; it is supposed to be edited to include an image that is synonymous with your personal brand and profession.

For example, an accountant might have an image of an equation, an IT support contractor  might have an image of a server room, and an Oil & Gas consultant might have an image of a North Sea rig. If you fancy something more tailored to your contractor business, remember there is also the option of having an infographic professionally created — to look like and online business card with whatever imagery and text you choose.

No one-size-fits-all

But back to the staple LinkedIn photo. I would recommend a picture that you feel represents your personal brand that also factors in the psychology of your target audience. Sitting on a beach in your Speedos downing a can of lager might be how you see yourself, but the likelihood that a potential client will view it positively is slim!

Some industries are more casual than others and I wouldn’t recommend the suit and tie you mention if you’re seeking work in, say, the creative industries. But equally, looking like you’ve been dragged out of bed by your toenails isn’t likely to wash either!

Generally for contractors and consultants, I would recommend a professional head and shoulder shot, where you are looking reasonably well-groomed and wearing at least smart causal clothes i.e. shirt or shirt and jumper.

How to master your LinkedIn profile (I can tell you later today)

If selling yourself in this challenging post-pandemic market is important to you, you may be interested in the ContractorUK LinkedIn Mastery webinar today – Monday October 12th at 7.15pm, on how to write a high-impact LinkedIn profile. During this free-to-participate session, we will perform some live critiques of real-life LinkedIn profiles! You can submit yours for review by emailing [email protected] and you can register for the webinar here:

The expert was Matt Craven, winning-work expert at The CV & Interview Advisors.

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