AI-Generated Headshots: Are They LinkedIn Worthy?

by | Resumes & LinkedIn

Are AI-generated headshots LinkedIn worthy?

If you’re updating your LinkedIn profile, you might be wondering how important it is to have a photo and whether you can use an AI-generated headshot to expedite the process.

With the rapid rise of artificial intelligence, it makes sense to want to turn to AI to support you in getting a new LinkedIn headshot quickly.

However, should you really use an AI-generated headshot as your LinkedIn profile photo, or are there better alternatives out there?

Here’s everything you need to know about LinkedIn profile photos and AI-generated headshots:

Is It Okay To Not Have A Profile Picture On LinkedIn?

For starters, do you even need a headshot on your LinkedIn profile?

Yes, if you’re looking for a new role or plan to use the platform to network with industry colleagues, you must have a profile photo.

No LinkedIn Profile Photo

The infamous grey avatar when you fail to upload a LinkedIn profile photo.

Your headshot is one of the first things users see when viewing your LinkedIn profile, and you don’t want them to be met by an ambiguous gray avatar.

Having a profile photo will result in up to 21 times more views by fellow users, up to 36 times more messages, and up to 9 times more connection requests, according to the platform.

If you’re hesitant to include a profile picture on LinkedIn, ask yourself how you would feel sending a personalized message to a faceless person.

Simply put, you’re missing out on countless job opportunities if you fail to include a profile photo on your LinkedIn profile.

[Read: How To Write A LinkedIn Headline When Looking For A Job, With Examples]

What If I Don’t Have A Professional Photo For LinkedIn?

Now, if you don’t currently have a professional headshot that’s LinkedIn-ready, you’ll want to get one, particularly if you’re looking for a new job.

Thankfully, there are several options available to quickly capture a professional photo that is LinkedIn-worthy, which we’ll cover shortly.

But first, let’s discuss what not to include as your headshot:

  • Your company logo
  • Stock photos
  • Emojis or avatars
  • A photo of you with someone else
  • An outdated photo
  • Anything else that doesn’t look like you, and only you, in the present day

Remember: Your LinkedIn profile is a marketing tool for you, so your headshot needs to be of you and only you.

What Is The Best AI App For Headshots?

If you have decent photos on your phone that aren’t quite headshot quality, you might be tempted to use an AI app to generate a professional profile photo.

A Google search will return countless free and low-cost apps that will use AI to turn your photos into “professional headshots.”

As of writing this article, Aragon AI is one of the most popular and high-quality apps for AI headshots currently available.

Other popular AI headshot generators include:

Popular Apps For AI Headshots

There are countless AI headshot generators on the market, and new ones are popping up daily.

You’ll want to read their terms of service to confirm how your photos are being used and whether you own the rights to the final product

Are AI Headshots Worth It?

While AI headshots are growing in popularity, should you use one for your LinkedIn profile photo?

At first glance, these AI photos appear legit and seem like a potential replacement for professional headshots.

Unfortunately, upon further examination, they often fall short of looking like a natural photo, with many adding additional fingers, teeth, or other body parts that make it evident that artificial intelligence was used to develop the image.

Additionally, some LinkedIn users are put off by AI-generated headshots. If you’re being disingenuous with your profile photo, they might question where else you’re filtering the truth in your resume or interview responses.

[Read: The Truth About Lying On Your Resume]

AI-generated headshots aren’t sweepingly good or bad, but there are several better alternatives available to you.

Is A Selfie Okay For A Headshot?

A popular option for those who want to update their profile photo is a selfie with your phone.

Cell phone cameras have improved dramatically in recent years, and Portrait Mode can support you in producing a quality headshot.

However, unless you nimbly use a selfie stick or phone stand and have great lighting, selfies often appear unpolished, so you’ll want to be mindful before using one as your LinkedIn headshot.

5 Alternatives To AI-Generated Headshots

If you want to take your headshot game to the next level, the following are five additional alternatives to using an AI headshot app:

Alternatives To AI-Generated Headshots

1. Use an existing photo.

For starters, check your phone’s album to see whether you have an existing photo that can serve as your LinkedIn profile photo. The job seekers I work with are often surprised when they find old photos that would serve as the perfect headshot.

You might be tempted to crop a photo that includes someone else in it, such as from a wedding, but you’ll want to proceed with caution, as this can often appear too casual for LinkedIn.

2. Ask a family member or friend to take your photo.

Another alternative is to have a family member or friend who is skilled at photography take your photo.

Ensure you dress the part, have adequate lighting, and look at the camera. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!

3. Find a college student studying photography.

Similarly, you can hire a college student majoring in photography or journalism to take your headshot. You’ll not only support their profession and help them make some extra money but also secure a new profile photo.

4. Tap into your university’s alumni center.

Many colleges and universities also offer free LinkedIn headshots to alumni through their career centers.

Some local libraries and job development centers offer this service to community members who are looking for jobs.

Several conferences and networking events provide attendees with headshots as part of their event experience, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of these opportunities if you need a new LinkedIn profile photo.

5. Hire a professional photographer.

Finally, consider investing in a professional photographer to take your LinkedIn headshot.

Dr. Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES Headshot

My LinkedIn profile photo was taken by my professional photographer, Hermelinda Fernandez. As a Dance Moms fan, I was starstruck that she also photographed Dance Mom Christy Lukasiak.

I’m a proponent of supporting small businesses when possible and hired a professional photographer to take my headshot and update my website photos.

If you’re a manager or executive, or anyone actively looking for a new job, please consider investing in professional headshots.

Final Thoughts On AI-Generated Headshots

AI is constantly evolving, so I’ll be sure to update this article regularly, and if I missed anything about AI headshots and LinkedIn profile photos, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

[Read: Free AI Resume Reviews: A Word Of Caution]

On a final note, remember that you only get one first impression, and you want to make it the best one possible, so think twice before using a headshot generated by AI. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).

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