The First Impression – Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

You meet someone for the first time. What is the first thing you notice? Their appearance. It is easy to make our assumptions by how one presents themselves without actually knowing anything about them at all. It sounds horrible, but it’s the truth. Making that first impression really matters even in the social media world, especially on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is known for being a professional network. We make new connections, while maintaining the existing relationships that we already have. So why is it when I browse the “People I May Know” list, it seems anything but professional? The other day I stumbled upon some interesting, confusing, and down right awful photos of individuals that were suggested to me. I thought to myself, don’t these people realize how they appear? Don’t they understand what being professional means? Maybe they don’t. While your LinkedIn profile may state your impressive involvement and employment history, your profile picture says something different. Why wouldn’t you want to the two to coincide?

The following are things you should avoid when it comes to your LinkedIn profile photo:

  • No Photo. Add one! Your profile is seven times more likely to be viewed with a photo, according to LinkedIn.
  • Cut your face out. Unless you want people to question, who are you? Do I know you?
  • Crop or blur. This is just tacky and raises the question of who am I connecting with again.
  • Make it disproportional. Does it look stretched, squeezed, or too small? Fix it!
  • Use personal photos. This is NOT Facebook. Leave your party, bar, vacations, and family photos behind.
  • Logos. Am I connecting with you or your company? It’s important to put a name to a face.
  • Selfies/Mirror Selfies. There is nothing professional about a selfie.

You want to impress potential employers. You want to demonstrate to new and existing connections who you are, your skills, and talents. When it comes to your LinkedIn profile photo keep it professional, clean, and simple. Make sure to reflect your personality. If your company wants to brand themselves with your profile photo, do it! Just don’t make it the main focus, and as you update your employment timeline update your photo too!

Is it time you re-evaluated your LinkedIn profile photo? #TurnTheLightBulbOn

Written by: Megan Tschopp |@MeganJanina | Connect with me on LinkedIn

About Megan Tschopp

Megan Tschopp is a Digital Media Specialist at Harness TechED. She is a graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in Communications and Public Relations. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, she now currently resides in Southern Illinois. When she's not diving into all things social media, you can usually find her exploring new places to travel to, overseeing her sorority chapter as a Recruitment Advisor, or surfing the web for all things Disney.


  1. These tips can apply to all your Social Media feeds, but because of the nature of LinkedIn being professional, brand yourself and not a “ghost.”

  2. I read a great article on this a few months ago on LinkedIn.

    Here is what it said:

    1. If you have no photo then most people will not trust you.
    2. Smile in your photo, people want to work with happy people.
    3. You do not have to have a suit and tie, wear what is appropriate for your career field.
    4. Do not change your photo all the time.
    5. Use a good headshot, make it easy to identify you with limited background that can clutter the photo.
    6. No pictures of your pet, favorite cartoon character, or family members.
    7. No red eye.
    8. Cannot be blurry.
    9. Make sure it is proportioned right.
    10. Make sure that the photo is current to your age and hairstyle.

    I hope this helps.

    Charles W. Robinson
    Twitter @ChWaRobinson


  1. […] as Megan explained in her blog about profile photos on LinkedIn, businesses must have professional profile photos on social media to establish legitimacy. However, […]

  2. […] as Megan explained in her blog about profile photos on LinkedIn, businesses must have professional profile photos on social media to establish legitimacy. However, […]

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