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Do’s and Don’ts For Your LinkedIn Profile Picture [Samples Included]

Putting together your LinkedIn profile can be tricky and time consuming. You’ve written the perfect summary, updated all of your work history and endorsed skills. If you’re struggling with choosing what photo to use for your profile… you’re in the right place! 

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Thanks to some help from our LandrumHR Staffing Division team members, here are some basic do’s and don’ts photos to ensure your profile picture is the best representation of your professional self.

Don'ts

1. DON'T: The Group Shot
“Now, I wonder which one of you is Tina…?”  Similar to a dating app, an image with a group full of people can be extremely confusing for other LinkedIn members trying to view your profile.  Your profile picture should be an easy to see, representation of your best professional self – not a mysterious clique-filled guessing game. 

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PS: This also goes for cropped group shots (see below), as there is nothing more awkward about seeing someone else’s chopped off shoulder in a profile picture. “Wow, what a professional looking woman… I wonder whose shoulder that is?!”  Your best bet is to feature you, and ONLY you, in your photo (and yes, this includes your significant other and your kids). 

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2. DON'T: The Selfie
The car selfie, the bathroom selfie, the desk selfie, need we go on? This is at the top of the list for a reason. While a selfie might be acceptable for your Facebook profile picture, it’s never recommended for LinkedIn (or for any other professional use). Even if you work in a field that is considered more casual in nature, such as a bartender, DJ, construction worker, etc., your LinkedIn profile picture is still important. Remember, first impressions matter!

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3. DON'T: The Outdated Photo
You know who you are (and why you don’t want to let go of that photo). A lot can change about your look from year to year, so it’s important that your professional image (a.k.a. professional LinkedIn picture) keeps up with your new look. Maybe you had hair and now you don’t? Update your picture. Used to be blonde but now you’re brunette? Update your picture. The idea is to give the most accurate, recent representation of who you are as a professional.

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4. DON'T: The Animal Sidekick
I hate to break it to you, but your pets have to go too. We know you love your sweet, slobbery Fido or your precious, purrfect Sassy, but Facebook, Twitter or Instagram work better for including pets.

If the work you do directly benefits or impacts animals - such as a pet rescue group, animal hospital, animal training facility, pet groomer, dog walker, etc. -  then feel free to incorporate a furry friend into your headshot as this is a direct reflection of your professional image. 

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We had to compromise with stuffed animals since Patti couldn’t bring in her REAL pet bunnies for a photo op…

5. DON'T: The Odd Background
In front of your car, at a wedding, in a restaurant. Unless you work in these environments, leave them out. Similar to The Selfie, a background is distracting and does not highlight the primary focus of the photo – you.

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6. DON'T: Anything Other Than Yourself
A picture of a cartoon, a lion, whatever it is – just take it off (or move it to your Facebook or Instagram).

7. DON'T: The Sketchy "No Photo"
A profile with no photo makes people think you are hiding something or the profile is fake. Or they might think that your account isn’t “active.”

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There are easy, inexpensive ways to get a professional photo for your profile. For example, ask a co-worker or friend to take a photo against a neutral background. It only needs to be a headshot, so make sure you have on a nice blouse or dress shirt, like Jamie below:

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Do's

1. DO: Hire a Professional (if you can)
Many photographers offer specials or discounts throughout the year for certain occasions. Take advantage of these if you can and have a photographer take pictures for a professional headshot. The pictures are nothing like your high school graduation photos (thankfully), so have fun with them and embrace the idea that it’s worth the investment. Your professional image will thank you!

2. DO: Dress Professionally
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised! As mentioned before, even if you work in a more “casual” industry or atmosphere, you should still dress professionally.  Also, remember to smile! Whether you’re looking for a job or looking to connect with other professionals, no one really wants to interact with someone who doesn’t look friendly. 

3. DO: Update Every 2-3 Years
If you are anything like my mom (sorry, mom) you purposely renew your drivers’ license online in attempt to avoid the dreaded drivers’ license photo. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but anyone who looks at you in person then looks at your drivers’ license can tell if it is not a current photo. The same goes with your LinkedIn photo. You’re not fooling anyone with an outdated photo, so make it easy for people to recognize you when you are attending work or networking functions. After all, LinkedIn is a social networking site, so make sure your photo is an accurate representation of who you are today.

4. DO: Focus On Your Face
With LinkedIn’s recent makeover, your profile picture is smaller than ever – and in a circle. This means you should really focus on your face. Jamie gives us a great example: A great close up face shot will fit into a small circle much better than a faraway body shot.

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Last minute tip: LinkedIn has a new look, meaning it’s probably time to update your account if you haven’t. To top this blog off and make sure your entire profile is state-of-the-art, read Fast Company’s article, LinkedIn Just Rolled Out A Redesign – Here’s How To Clean Up Your Profile.

And a BIG thank you to our Staffing Division employees who helped us "model" our LinkedIn Do's and Don'ts!

 

About the Author

Brittany Commiskey, PHR, SHRM-CP

Brittany Commiskey, PHR, SHRM-CP, is the Branch Manager for Landrum HR’s Fort Walton Beach office. Brittany has been with Landrum for six years and came to us with five years of managerial experience in the restaurant and retail industry. Brittany is a regular presenter and panelist at Hurlburt Field, Emerald Coast Professional’s Networking Group, University of West Florida and Northwest Florida State College. Topics include resume writing, networking and social media, interviewing, and job search techniques. Brittany obtained a B.S. degree in Human Resource Management from Florida State University in 2010 (Go Noles!) and earned a M.S. degree in Human Resource Management from Nova Southeastern University in 2014. She has earned her certification as PHR (Professional in Human Resources) from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the SHRM-CP (Certified Professional) designation from the Society of Human Resource Management. She is a board member of the Panhandle Job Fair Foundation and Emerald Coast SHRM chapter.