I’ have taken some time recently (and a lot of time that took) to review the profile photos used on LinkedIn. Some are obviously professionally done. Some of those have very cookie-cutter backgrounds, poses and proportions. Others are pretty outstanding and even quite original – yet professional. The best ones are the ones of those who smile!
Then, there are those photos that are less than professional but still nice. A headshot cropped from the last time you were at an event and thought you looked good — like at a wedding. Oh, there are a lot of those profile photos out there. I’ve been guilty of that myself. That can work, as long as you try to crop out someone else’s arm, the drink you might be holding or a busy background.
But then there are those photos that just don’t appear professional – even when taken by one; like a family portrait, or someone’s own wedding portrait. They may look nice, but they just don’t belong. Someone holding a child on their lap – unless your profession is that of a childcare provider, just doesn’t seem suitable for LinkedIn. You in your wedding gown; unless maybe you were going to model (and some of you may want to consider that). Then there are those photos taken at a sporting event – wearing jerseys and caps promoting their favorite teams — well, unless you work for that team, I’d suggest opting for something else. And when in doubt – consider a prospective employer/recruiter reviewing your profile – what image would you prefer they have of you – when they will look there first before reading your entire profile.
When someone’s job is that of a Chef, it is certainly appropriate to have the photo shown wearing a Chef’s jacket, etc. In other positions that require uniforms – Pilots, Flight Attendants, Hotel Concierge to name a few – most definitely photos wearing that uniform will work nicely. Someone who does corporate training for a living – this would be an opportunity to see a good image of them while they presenting. I know someone who is a marathon runner and now works in the retail arena for that sport – so sporting or running attire in their photo would be quite suitable. And those in the creative fields – well, they seem to have a little more latitude.
Selfie images? Not so much. One can pretty much tell when it’s a selfie image, especially when a bathroom mirror is in the frame, or a shower curtain. One would be better off just using this blank female/male illustration that LinkedIn provides than another not-so-great choice. And here’s a ‘profile’ image, just for fun.