You Have a Bad LinkedIn Photo When …

Not to insult any readers, but if your LinkedIn photo contains any of the following, you need to change it ASAP!

To all other readers, good job! You can have a laugh at everyone else’s expense – and share other LinkedIn profile photo horror shows I may have missed.

The following come from actual profile photos I’ve seen on LinkedIn:

  1. Unless you’re running from the law, don’t use this as your LinkedIn profile picture.

    You’re using the LinkedIn icon: You’re either a serial killer, lazy or scary looking.

  2. You’re laying back at the desk with your hands behind your head: This says “I’m lazy and will waste company time” to any potential employers – and your current employer!
  3. You’re wearing sunglasses: Do you wear sunglasses at work? Do you need prescription sunglasses on at all times? If not, you look shady.
  4. It’s a photo of the back of your head: I don’t think this one requires an explanation.
  5. You’re really far away: This might make potential employers wonder why you don’t want to be seen. It also makes it hard for potential connections to tell if you’re the “John Smith” they know or some other “John Smith”.
  6. You’re blurry or the photo’s really dark: Combined with everything from #4, this makes people think you either can’t take a photo, don’t have someone to take a decent photo or you don’t care about how you appear to them.
  7. You’re not the only one in the photo: Don’t confuse everyone about which one’s really you. You also need to showcase yourself and prove that you’re independent.
  8. You obviously cropped someone else out: If it’s obvious you’ve cropped someone out of your photo, it just makes you look ridiculous – even if it’s an awesome picture of yourself.
  9. You look like you’re from a different era: Your photo should reflect how you look now. You don’t want to deceive anyone about your appearance or they’ll be shocked when they actually meet you.
  10. There are two of you in one photo: I swear, I just saw this on LI! No joke! A very competent, friendly looking professional had the 80 x 80 px space split in half with full-body shots of her doing two different things in each one. (I guess that’s better than two duplicate shots?) Anyway, what’s up with that? It’s just bizarre.

Of course, there are exceptions to some of these, like reflecting your professional talent in the image. You kind of expect photographers and graphic designers to do something different and interesting. For example, I saw a photo I really like of a video technician, whose photo was of him on a TV screen taking video of something else. It’s professionally and creatively done to reflect his skill and what he does.

For the rest of us, it’s best to have a forward-facing, friendly, professional, clear LinkedIn photo for our employer, potential employers, co-workers and colleagues to find.

Now, I’ll turn it over to you! I know there are bad LinkedIn photos, so what have I missed? Share in the comments below!