Much has been written about LinkedIn photos, so it simply amazes me when I start perusing potential LinkedIn contacts and see so many outright blunders. In the span of 10 minutes the other day I found more than a half dozen no-no photos. Let’s see if you can see yourself or others in these examples.
The anonymous silhouette: This is the default (your photo here) picture that really isn’t a picture at all. Let’s face it, many of us, myself included, may not like how we look through the lens, but if you are looking to network, then you are going to have to come out from the shadows. If you’re that concerned about how you look, spend a few bucks on a professional photographer, they can do wonders with good lighting and a nip and tuck via Photoshop.
The in-your-face shot: This is the person whose photo was either taken so close you can almost see their pores, or the photo was cropped so tight they look like they are being squeezed out of a ketchup bottle. Back it up folks, this photo is way too creepy, and it makes you look like you’re coming through my computer screen.
The selfie: OK, so you don’t have to hire a professional photographer, but just say “no” to the selfie and for goodness sake, do NOT make those Kardashian duck lips. If you must, selfies should be relegated to Facebook and Instagram. LinkedIn is also not the place to vogue. Hands away from your face people.
The "you’re so far away" photo: This was a great Carole King song, but if I can see you from head to foot, then you’re too far away. It would be so fine to see your face on my screen. I don’t need to see you standing in a field holding a rifle on a hunting trip or atop a mountain. Come on back!
The prop meister: I get it, you’re a photographer, but don’t cover your face with your camera. It’s great that your hobby is surfing, but this isn’t the place to see you catching waves. Keep the props out of the shots!
The head squeeze: I know sometimes the dimensions of a photo simply don’t fit into the predetermined size of the photo box, but if your face looks like it’s being reflected in one of those crazy mirrors in a fun house, then find another photo with better dimensions. Who is going to want to connect with someone whose head looks like it got squeezed in an accordion?
The naked truth: Dude, nice six-pack. But I don’t care if you’re a Chris Hemsworth look-alike. Shirts need to stay on. Keep the muscle flexing for the gym. Same goes for you ladies, too much cleavage isn't a good thing on a professional business website.
The two-fer: This is your profile, I don’t want to see your husband, wife, significant other, kids, grandma, dog, cat or pet duck in the photo.
The random limb: This is the person whose picture was taken with someone who had their arm around them. The other person has been cut out, but the arm remains. Reminds me of “The Thing” from the Addams Family.
The funster: We get it, you are fun to be around, now put down the booze and straighten up. Do you want potential business contacts, a potential employer, or even your mother to see you with a bottle of booze or glass of wine? You’re supposed to be putting your best professional foot forward.
In case you are wondering, yes, I did see examples of each and every one of these while scrolling through potential LinkedIn contacts. Rather than embarrass these folks, I pulled photos from a free photo site to use as examples, so don’t look for anyone you know here.
I am sure anyone reading this has other examples they have seen of bad LinkedIn photos. Feel free to share.
Susan R. Miller is founder of Garton-Miller Media, a full-service, South Florida based public relations firm. Susan is a former journalist with more than 30 years of experience. She has two daughters, two golden retrievers and two cats, but just one guinea pig who is happy not to have to share his cage or his daily stash of veggies with anyone.
Garton-Miller Media is a full-service, South Florida-based public relations firm. Founder Susan R. Miller has 30 years of experience as a writer, journalist and PR professional.