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10 LinkedIn Profile Pictures You Need to Avoid

Remember how everyone always says that first impressions count? Well, they’re right – and the same can definitely be said for your online profiles too.

Now, with LinkedIn being the professional business networking tool it is, you’d think it’d be full of professional images of business men and women looking smart, intelligent and very, very important… but one quick glance down my “People You May Know” list shows that this just isn’t the case.

Despite the fact that the platform is regularly used by recruiters looking for candidates, the site is filled with profiles that feature some of the most bizarre, unusual and downright weird profile pictures I’ve ever seen. And I’m sad to say, in some cases, ‘weird’ doesn’t necessarily mean good…!

Because we’ve already covered how to choose the best profile picture for your LinkedIn profile before, I thought I’d take inspiration from some of the worst culprits on the site and take you through the LinkedIn profile pictures you need to avoid at all costs.

linkedin profile pic1. Boozed-Up Picture: OK, so you might like that picture of you holding a well-deserved pint on a Friday night or an the one of you looking all nice and tanned holding an exotic cocktail from your recent holiday but guess what? LinkedIn is not the place for them – Facebook is! Seriously, everyone expects you to go out and have a good time at the weekend – but there’s really no need to draw attention to the fact on a professional network like LinkedIn.

2. No Picture: Think you can forget all this profile picture nonsense and just not have one? Think again! OK, so we’re not all photogenic and you might hate every photo of you but you really need to choose one you can bear and stick with it. Why? Because by failing to have one, it suggests you have something to hide or that you just haven’t bothered to upload a picture.

3. Arty For No Reason: Whether it’s a black and white shot or an Instagram-inspired filter, there are lots of arty profile pictures circulating on LinkedIn and while they can look nice, I’m just not sure they’re that appropriate for LinkedIn. The reason? Well, there’s a risk they can look a bit stuck-up and over the top.

4. Britain’s Next Top Model: We’ve all seen these ones – the profile pictures that have obviously been taken on some kind of photo shoot. Now, while images of you with your hair being blown back by a wind machine or styled to the max can look nice, again, I’m just not sure LinkedIn is the right network for them. Unless you’re applying for a modelling job that is…

5. Multi-Person Shot: Really like that image of you with your significant other? Then use it as your profile picture on Facebook, not LinkedIn! Remember, your LinkedIn profile is your professional profile – so you need to make sure the image is a solo shot of you which is clear and professional.

6. Poor Formatting: Pixelated, blurred, stretched, poorly framed, squashed – you name it, they’re all examples of poorly formatted profile images I’ve seen on LinkedIn just recently and needless to say, they don’t give off the best first impression.

7. Holiday Snap: OK, so you might be pleased with how much weight you managed to lose for that recent trip to Malaga and how great you looked in a bikini or those speedos and want to show the world… but I’d advise you to keep it off LinkedIn. Seriously, if you’ve got an profile image, it goes without saying that employers and recruiters are going to judge you on it – so please, please choose a photo where you’re wearing appropriate clothing. HINT: bikinis, low cut dresses and bare chests are probably not the way to go!

8. Selfie: Thinking of using a cheeky selfie for your LinkedIn profile picture? I’d think again. Not only are selfies downright cringy, they also look a bit naff and suggest you don’t actually have any friends to take a picture for you. Uh-oh…

9. Cheeeeese: Yes, a nice smile is a must for your LinkedIn picture but be careful not to go too over the top with the cheese. Remember, you want to look approachable, not demented…!

10. The ‘Deep In Thought’ Pose: Want to look professional and friendly? I’d avoid Shutterstock-style ‘deep in thought’ poses then. Whether it’s a hand on the chin or looking off into the distance pondering life’s great mysteries, these kind of images are pretty awful and are just downright painful to look at.

Join The Conversation

  • Nov 5 Posted 3 years ago Ed Boring Oh, dear. I was breaking Rule #10 - the "Deep In Thought" picture. I'd attach it here for reference, but it looks like this comment feature does not accommodate attachments!
  • amy_edwards88's picture
    Nov 5 Posted 3 years ago amy_edwards88

    Thanks Ed! 

    Oh really, which rule were you breaking previously? Ha! I think the Chheeesseee rule is the one that's hardest to avoid.. but I think it's probably the one which is the most acceptable :)

  • amy_edwards88's picture
    Nov 5 Posted 3 years ago amy_edwards88

    Thanks for the comment Adella. I've not actually seen an exterme close-up like the one you've mentioned on LinkedIn yet - but I definitely agree that it adds a certain air of mystery - and not in a good way! :)

  • Adella Choi's picture
    Oct 28 Posted 3 years ago Adella @ Wishpond

    Hi Amy. Very interesting :) The worst LinkedIn profile photo that I’ve seen is the extreme close up. It can make people think you're hiding something just out of frame like casual clothes or awkward poses.

  • Oct 25 Posted 3 years ago PhotoFeeler

    Hey Amy, It's nice to see the importance of a good LinkedIn profile brought to light here. :) In the professional world, more first impressions are made online now than otherwise-- pretty crazy.

    My husband and I just launched a free profile photo testing site at for this reason, to tell people exactly what their photos are saying about them.

  • Oct 25 Posted 3 years ago Ed Boring

    Ms. Edwards. Great tips! You should know I went immediately and changed my LinkedIn profile pic.  Although, I may be on the verge of breaking the Cheeeeese rule (#9), I believe I have managed to avoid transgression of the others completely.  Thank you!!

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