Your photo shows up EVERYWHERE you are on LinkedIn, from the connection requests you send to others, to the comments you make on posts, to your profile page where employers go to see if they want to hire you and partners go to see if they want to work with you.
An adequate LinkedIn photo is easy to create–take out your phone, point it at yourself, snap a selfie, crop it square (at least 400 by 400 px), perhaps apply a subtle Instagram filter, and you’re good to go.
So easy, and yet…so many people make so many mistakes when it comes to this simplest of LinkedIn assets.
Here are 29 mistakes you can make with your LinkedIn photo. Of course once you see these, you won’t make them. Right?
This person simply hasn’t had the time to upload a photo. Nevermind that almost anything is better than no photo (almost, see #29 below). The “no photo” on LinkedIn yells out “Either I have no clue what LinkedIn is, or I’m totally ignoring it on purpose, other than setting up a bare bones profile.” Why would anyone want to connect with someone who says that?
There are worse sins than appearing overly serious in your LinkedIn photo, and we’ll get to them in just a moment, but still…do you take yourself this seriously? C’mon, give us a little smile, you’re not all that.
Just in case you’re really insecure and looking serious isn’t enough for you, how about serious and tough? Wear that just-tight-enough shirt, show us those biceps, yeah, and open that shirt neck a bit, chin down to show a strong jaw line, yeah…I see what you’re doing there, and so does everybody else. Get over yourself.
Nothing wrong with a nice group photo…except that we can’t tell which one of these folks is you!
If you are a professional athlete then ignore this one, you’re all good. If the primary way you get business is skiing, also good. If you just happen to like it, then you might want to consider something else. Your photo tells a story about who you are that’s stronger than just “I like skiing.” When you post a photo of yourself in an activity, the instant assumption many will make is that this is related to your business, and they will exclude you from consideration if it doesn’t match what they’re looking for. “Oh, we’re looking for someone to do enterprise SaaS sales in Florida, but it looks like this guy wants to focus on the ski industry, so probably not a fit.”
As with #5, if you’re in the hunting industry and that’s where you intend to stay, then that’s fine, use a hunting photo. Otherwise you’re sending a strong message about who you are, and potentially excluding yourself from a slew of opportunities.
Your LinkedIn profile is for you, not your company. Sure, you may mention your company in your bio, but when you put up a logo that tends to make people skip connecting with you because they’re afraid they’re going to get an immediate sales pitch.
The other problem with a logo or product photo is that it makes your profile look like LinkedIn spam. It’s like going to a networking event and instead of smiling and talking with people, just holding your product in front of your face and saying “Hi! I’m a bluetooth speaker! Want to buy some?”
400 x 400 at a minimum, at 72 dpi, folks. Don’t enlarge and shrink your photo, that’s how you end up with a pixilated image. If you’re not sure how to edit your photo to make it the right size and sharp, get your 10 year old to help out, they’re great with Photoshop.
This is one of the most common mistakes I see on LinkedIn. The image you upload should be square and fill the entire space. Bands on the sides make it look like a spam profile.
Maybe this guy just wants to look thinner?
We want to see you on LinkedIn, and that means your eyes. “The eyes are the windows to the soul…” someone once said. Give us a peek. Don’t hide.
“Hey, you over there! Yeah you! I can’t see you!”
Your back and shoulder may look tough, but we’re not hiring them, we’re hiring you. Give us an idea of what you actually look like.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. Family is the best thing in the world, other than a nice mutton, lettuce, and tomato sandwich, but LinkedIn is a professional place. Unless you’re a family counselor or you work with your kids, just show us you and only you.
Yes, your kids are cute, but I’m not hiring your kids. I’m not partnering with your kids…am I? Unless you’ve got a strong business case for putting your kids in your LinkedIn photo, leave the kids at home.
I hate to break it to you, but you are who you are today, not who you were 20 years ago, and the same goes for your hair. Show us what you look like today. Your LinkedIn photo should elicit this response when someone meets you in person “Oh, hey, you look exactly the same as you do on LinkedIn!”
You just got married and are head over heels in love, and you want to share your joy with the rest of the world. What better way to do that then to use a wedding photo on your LinkedIn profile?
No. Don’t do it.
Look, I love that you got married, congratulations, tell me where to send the gift, but unless you’re a wedding planner this is not the place to share your special day.
There are three good reasons to use a silhouette for your LinkedIn photo:
- You’re part of a witness protection program.
- You’re a spy.
- You work in special operations in law enforcement or the military.
If you don’t match at least one of these, no silhouette for you.
If you’re actually a model then fine, you can be the model in your LinkedIn photo, otherwise don’t try or you’ll come off more Zoolander than…well, I don’t know, I don’t follow the modeling industry that closely, but you know where I’m going.
What better way to show your current boss that you’re a strong candidate for employment elsewhere?
Your dog is cute. He should have his own LinkedIn profile. Then it would make sense to use this photo.
If you’re a real rocker and that’s how you make a living, then fine. If you’re a semi-successful CEO who wishes he were a rocker and plays in a weekend band with his buddies who also have similar wishes, then nope.
We’ll give Grant Cardone a free pass, not because it’s ok, but because it’s too late for him to turn back. Everyone else, don’t be this guy.
LinkedIn is no place for cosplay. You may be a viking in your dreams, at home, on weekends, on vacation, or at Comic-Con, but unless you’re a viking in the office I’d recommend against this one. Dale Dupree has permission to use a sword in his photo, however, because he’s made it part of his personal brand in a way that works.
Worst. Photo. Ever. Ok, not really that bad, but unless you work on the team creating The Simpsons, I’d recommend using the real photo rather than the yellowized version.
This is not the look you are looking for…dang it, why didn’t I include a Star Wars one? Well, what to say about this…ho, ho, ho…no.
This is a catchall for every crazy LinkedIn photo that doesn’t quite fit into a category of its own.
I didn’t use real LinkedIn photos in the examples here because I didn’t want to shame anyone and be cruel, but if you think photos just like these, and worse, don’t appear on LinkedIn, just search around a bit. Some are more common than others (the crop, the logo, the too-far-away, the sunglasses) but all of them have shown up at one time or another.
Got a worst LinkedIn photo ever to tell us about? Tell me about it in the comments.
By the way, at Influencer Inc we’re launching a LinkedIn profile audit service. If you’re interested, hit me up at email@example.com.Liked it? Share it!