We’ve made uploading a profile even easier. Simply email your profile photo to photos@clearancejobs.com, and we’ll resize and post it for you! (Make sure to include your full name or that you send the photo from the same email account you used to register).

You may have a top secret security clearance but there’s no reason to hide your identity. A professional headshot makes a great first impression – even online.


One of the biggest pitfalls of self-taken or amateur headshots is poor lighting. Pick an area with great natural light. Pictures outside can be great, assuming you’re not in full sun. Wherever you are, avoid shadows.

Second, consider attire – you don’t need to be in a suit but you shouldn’t be rocking a three-day beard, either. Because most profile images are small, the focus should be on your face – so consider your jewelry, your hair and your collar. It doesn’t really matter what you’re wearing from the neck down for most photos, which will be cropped to show the head only. But don’t make the mistake of uploading a photo where you look like a rockstar from the neck up and a slob from the neck down – and then forgetting to crop accordingly.

Keep camera angles in mind – you shouldn’t be looking dead center at the camera. Face the camera at an angle, and consider a natural tilt of the head. It’s these little details that make the difference between a mediocre pic and a professional headshot.

Finally, is it okay to use a selfie as a profile photo online? Many critics argue that a selfie should never be used for a professional photo. The reality is a self-taken photo can look quite professional – if you crop the photo accordingly, and keep all of the above points in mind. No selfies with 10 friends or pics that look like they could have been taken on the subway.

First impressions play a big role in the job search process – make yours a good one with the right profile photo.

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Lindy Kyzer is the director of content at ClearanceJobs.com. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email lindy.kyzer@clearancejobs.com. Interested in writing for ClearanceJobs.com? Learn more here.. @LindyKyzer