Posted on Dec 19, 2011

Don't Let Your Cat Take Your LinkedIn Profile PictureIn my previous post, I mentioned my quest for the Holy Grail of Inappropriate LinkedIn Profile pictures. While on this arduous and occasionally hilarious mission, I’ve culled a list of the most common LinkedIn Profile picture offenses.

Some of these offenses are obvious –such as posing half-naked, gelling your hair to a highly-flammable extreme, or using DUI mug shot (hey, at least it’s professionally photographed) –but some of the offenses I found might not be obvious to the average LinkedIn user.

Thus, I dub this list: Top 10 LinkedIn Photo No-Nos!


10. Baby Got Background

Don’t choose a picture with a cluttered background! The focus of your LinkedIn Profile picture should be you – your face, your smile, and your personality. Don’t ruin it with a busy or cluttered background. Especially if it’s your messy office! Best if your future employer doesn’t know that you are completely unorganized!


9. LinkedIn Landscape

Don’t choose a photo that features more background than face. I’m sure your vacation was beautiful, but I’m not interested in sightseeing via LinkedIn. And your mountain scenery photo is not going to give you a competitive edge with an employer or potential customer! It might the LinkedIn faux pas that gets you skipped over.

LinkedIn Landscape - What NOT to do in your LinkedIn Profile Picture

LinkedIn Landscape


8. LinkedIn Pin-Head

Heads come in all different shapes and sizes. Big, small, round, flat, square – the list goes on. But I’m fairly certain that no one’s head is the size of the head of a pin. Choose a photo that discernibly shows your mouth, eyes, and nose. I won’t pull out a magnifying glass to see what you look like.


7. Too Cool for School

There’s nothing worse than an awkwardly posed, wannabe 007er. Even it if stirred, not shaken, the 1967-over-the-shoulder-jacket pose will not get you hired (or even considered).

LinkedIn Profile Pictures - What NOT to Do

Over-the-shoulder-jacket pose AND sunglasses – a double whammy!!


6. Honeymooners

This one really drives me nuts –Ladies: DO NOT sit on your husband’s/boyfriend’s/“Facebook Official”-man-friend’s LAP for your LinkedIn Profile picture!!! Men, the same goes for you, too. PDA is not a skill set you want to showcase to clients, business partners, or recruiters. It’s just plain unprofessional!


5. Raising a Glass

Would you drink a glass of wine in front of a client at the office? We’re way past the “Mad Men” era when cocktails were an office supply! Posing with a drink in your hand for your LinkedIn Profile picture will not only get MADD up in arms, but it will hurry the reviewer to the “next in line!”


Raising a Glass - What NOT to do in your LinkedIn Profile Picture

Raising a Glass


4. Flash Attack

Spectacle-wearers: I know it’s unavoidable. Sometimes when the camera flashbulb goes off, your lenses look like high-beams on a dirty windshield. But don’t use one of those photos for your LinkedIn Profile picture!!! Your eyes are a huge part of your identity – let the LinkedIn Profile viewer see them!  P.S. Sunglasses are a no-no too!


3. Bare-ly There

We’ve already discussed bikini-clad LinkedIn photos, but another LinkedIn no-no is bare shoulders. Ladies, this goes for everything from elegant evening gowns to pleather tube-tops – if it shows your shoulders, don’t show it on LinkedIn. My recent LinkedIn photo hall-of-famer is a woman with an over the shoulder shot that is completely bare. You can’t even tell if she’s wearing a top or not!!!!


2. Betty Blooper

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I stumbled upon this one: one of my LinkedIn Connections has a cartoon image of a rabbit as his LinkedIn Profile picture. I don’t know if this is the “Holy Grail” of Inappropriate LinkedIn Profile Pictures, but it’s in the running. Unless you actually are a cartoon character of some sort (in which case, I applaud your efforts to join the business community) do NOT use a carton image as your LinkedIn Profile picture!


1. And finally, as David Letterman would say, the #1 Top 10 LinkedIn Photo No-No is: Don’t let your cat take your LinkedIn Profile picture!

Awkward angles, incomplete faces, and blurry unrecognizably human photos do not belong on LinkedIn!!!! In terms of selecting LinkedIn Profile pictures, professionally photographed headshots are the best way to go. And cat lovers, I’m sure your cat is uniquely gifted and entirely capable of achieving great things, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have the opposable thumbs required for photography!!

Don't Let Your Cat Take Your LinkedIn Profile Picture

Nice smile, no interviews in sight!!




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  1. […] or semi-professional headshot. Your face is your opener, so make it count.  Too many people snap a casual mobile pic, copy something from Facebook or scan a wedding pic and use that for a profile picture. […]

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