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Twelve profile photos I never want to see again on LinkedIn

We all want a good photograph of ourselves to go with our LinkedIn profiles. I’ve seen many great personal photos on LinkedIn, but not all of them are the right choice for conveying a professional image.

People read a lot into the photographs we choose to represent ourselves with. Put the wrong type of image on LinkedIn, and you might lead people to think or believe things you didn’t intend.
With that said, here are 12 types of profile photos that don’t belong on any professional’s LinkedIn profile page:

12 photo - wedding final1. Wedding – LinkedIn is a professional network, not a place for wedding photos … no matter how fairytale-perfect or lovely! You wouldn’t wear a long formal gown or dashing tuxedo to a job interview, would you? Then don’t wear one on LinkedIn either.

 

12 photo - hand on shoulder final2. Hand on shoulder – Shots like these convey a slapdash kind of thinking: “Let me just cut out Trevor from this shot, never mind that his hand is still visible. It’s good enough.” No, actually, it’s not. It says you don’t care enough to get a decent photo of just yourself, even when you’re supposed to be trying to make a good impression.

 

12 photo - in the pub final3. Club / bar / pint – Think about these types of images for a moment. What would you think about a potential employee whose LinkedIn portrait shows her glassy-eyed and raising a pint for a toast? You’d probably assume this person would rather be clubbing than working … or maybe even had a drink issue.

 

12 photo - hobby final4. Hobby – You can enjoy flying a plane, sailing a sloop or some other kind of hobby as much as you like … but leave the pictures of you doing so off of LinkedIn? Do your professional clients and colleagues really want to know how you spend your spare time?

 

12 photo - company logo5. Logo – This one is a no-brainer, for one reason alone. Statistics tell us that 86% of people don’t trust you if they cannot see you! Do you really want to alienate that much of your potential audience before they’ve read a thing about you?

 

12 photo - corporate final6. Cliché corporate image – That macho pose with your arms crossed and your jaw jutting out might look quite professional … but only in a stock photo/clipart type of way. These types of images do nothing to reveal your human side or personality. They give your real-life viewers nothing to relate to.

 

12 photo - catalogue final7. Catalogue pose – Yes, photos like these can be very attractive, but they’re not a good choice for LinkedIn. Images of you staring pensively at the distant horizon, your hair blowing in the breeze, resting your head on your chin, or of you pointing and laughing at something others can’t see make you look, well, contrived or even a bit strange.

 

12 photo - bad holiday final8. Holiday shot – Your week in the islands was wonderful, but those holiday snaps leave the wrong impression. Obviously, you’d rather be on holiday than at work. Instead of being impressed by your amazing credential, viewers might instead find themselves trying to work out where you were in that beach shot … or even making guesses about your income!

 

12 photo - selfie in car final9. Selfie – A professional network and you show a selfie? This suggests to people that you don’t really give much thought or care to the image you convey.

 

12 photo - cartoon final10. Cartoon – Unless you’re a cartoonist you don’t really expect me to take you as a serious professional when your image is Betty Boo do you?

 

12 photo - xmas family shot final11. Family – LinkedIn is not Facebook. Just because it is a great shot of you, your kids / family doesn’t mean it should be your personal profile image. It confuses people as to which person you are and is not professional.

 

12 photo - No photo final12. None at all! A bad choice indeed: Without a photo on LinkedIn, you are 14 times less likely to be looked at. What’s the point in being on LinkedIn at all when that’s the case?

 

The image you choose is a really important part of your LinkedIn profile. It says a lot about you, and it is one of the first things we all look at when visiting someone’s profile page. (It also helps viewers know who to look for if they are hoping to meet you at work or a professional event).

Remember: Your profile should open the door to opportunities. It should reflect you and your values. If you think yours isn’t working as well as it could be, perhaps we should talk – call or email me now, and I’ll be happy to speak with you.



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  • murrayzz1

    Very well said. I’m frequently astonished by the terrible pictures people put on LinkedIn. Holidays, nightclubs and sports gear are the ones that make me cringe the most.

    • It is amazing isn’t it! It is almost self harm! Thanks for the kind comment. Best wishes, James

    • Oh I agree Murray, makes me cringe sometimes and I am not even them! Thanks for the kind comment. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  • Martin Ellis

    Yep. All of those and many from the world of marketing – if only to prove they don’t understand the importance of packaging. If they’re happy to put those pictures up, they’re happy to let me draw my own conclusions.

    Some of us are stuck with poor subject matter, but we should all make an attempt to present something vaguely human and interesting. (Incidentally, I stopped using the cartoon gravitar years ago, but it still emerges at the most inappropriate moments!)

    • Thanks for the comment Martin, just look what I have to work with and I still have a picture 😉 Have a great week. Best wishes, James

    • Thanks for the kind comment Martin. Best wishes, James – The Linked In Man

  • Thank goodness you didn’t choose mine! 🙂

    • Your’s is fine Adrian, no worries, nice flat top …. 🙂 but seriously though it is fine. Best wishes, James

  • Lynn J

    Thanks for giving me the push to update my pic! Only been trying to get around to it for a year (or two?)

    • No worries at all, I am delighted to hear that you are going to look even better on LinkedIn after reading. Don’t hesitate to shout if I can help in anyway. Best wishes, James

    • Glad it was helpful Lynn, best wishes, James – The Linked In Man