LinkedIn headshots – 8 dos and don’ts

Posted on September 7, 2012


Recently I wrote about some strangeness that happens with profile pics on social networks and corporate websites. Some people just don’t look themselves.

But there is a more serious side to this on sites such as LinkedIn and its equivalents. Anyone who offers you work, whether full-time or on a project basis, will use these sites.

What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to the mugshot, usually the one chance you get to show who you are? It just so happens I’ve been doing some work on this (see end of this post). Here are some quick tips.


–          Use out-of-date pics. David Brent tried it, others routinely end up with photos that are just years  wrong. Anything more than a year old or with significant differences to how you look now  is a no-no. (I’m thinking of you, recently beardy man, or anyone who’s lopped off that pony-tail recently.)

–          Pose with someone else. You heard it. Not even with your new spouse or first-born. You love them and never want to leave their side. We get it. But please, not on a LinkedIn. And – bonus advice – no photos of the two of you clearly cut in half from that recent wedding/BBQ/clubbing trip to Ibiza you just attended.

–          Be wildly inconsistent from one network to the next. Sure, you can kick back a bit on a Facebook – though remember even that image will appear on the web next to your comments on sites that let you sign in that way – but using a single, professional image across LinkedIn, company blogs etc. is a fine idea.


–          Have a photo! One of the worst things on any social network or site is the absence of a photo, if you truly want anyone to care about what you do. (Worse still are those anonymous, Carlos-the-Jackal silhouettes. AVOID!)

–          Always make sure your face is visible. Sounds obvious but in the search for something quirky many end up obscuring their own face. Which is kind of against the whole point.

–          Look assured. Not cocky or arrogant but like you know what you’re about and you’re comfortable in your own skin.

–          Use a professional photographer, if at all possible. Either your company should stump up for some pro profile pics or you should splurge at some point. Remember to ask them to make you professional and presentable.

And finally…

Black or white or colour? Either is OK – just choose what feels right for you.

What am I missing? Please add your advice or where you disagree with me.

* Prisoner 625385 Mugshot  by Henry__Spencer  used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC by 2.5).

Follow Tony on Twitter – @tphallett

This year I’ve been running sessions, entitled How You Look Online, to large companies that want their people to look good when their clients and competition check them out. Drop me a line if you’d like more details.

Posted in: Social media