LinkedIn profile photo

I have now conducted 32 in-depth reviews of people’s LinkedIn profiles and one of the most common things I tell people is “Consider getting a new photo.”

Some people have privacy considerations and choose not to post a picture to LinkedIn. If you do have confidentiality concerns, I respect your choice.

However, there are reasons to include a photo in your LinkedIn profile. It builds trust and credibility and makes you a real person rather than simply an electronic profile. And it’s the first thing people notice.

If you do choose to post a photo on LinkedIn, the first question to ask yourself is: What image do I want to project?

Most of us will answer this question, “A professional image, of course!” Remember, this is LinkedIn. It’s not Facebook for your friends or a dating website for your cute and sexy look.

Yet here’s what I found in many business people’s pictures (and I may be talking to you):

  1. Cars, computers, and random objects in the background (these draw attention away from you)
  2. Dark backgrounds that make it hard to see your face
  3. Other people:  girlfriends, kids, and drinking buddies (are you planning to bring them to your interview?)
  4. Dogs (are you planning to bring them to your interview?)
  5. Obvious cropping, creating an amateur look (maybe okay for Facebook, but not for LinkedIn)
  6. Long shots where we can?t see the person’s face (what’s the point?)

If you were an employer or a client, what would your reaction be to these photos?

To avoid these common blunders, I recommend to most people that they get a professionally done head shot in front of a plain light colored background. That’s the kind of photo that builds business credibility. (If you don’t want to go to a studio, a white house will do the trick as a background… all you need is a friend with a portrait lens.)

There are exceptions to every rule. Perhaps if you are in real estate, you want your picture to be taken in front of a house you sold — or you might just want your company logo in the corner of the photo. If you are in the travel industry, perhaps you want an exotic background. As a general rule, however, if it’s not relevant to your work, don’t include it in the photo! And make sure we can see your face.

Ask yourself: What image do I want to project? Then create a match for that image in your LinkedIn photo.

Remember, a lot of people are looking.


    • Hi Andrew, I looked at your photo and I get you’re going for a bit of an artsy look… I would still crop the photo closer. I’d like to see your face better. What is your intention with the photo and your profile?

      • Hi Brenda,

        I am in full swing job search mode focusing on updating my resume and a good friend recommended following your blog.

        Thank you so much you for all of your LI profile tips as that was not even on my radar to update/improve. Agree that a professional profile picture is a good idea.

        Love your clear and concise writing style.


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