LinkedIn Photo Tips

11 Tips For Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo


“A picture is worth a thousand words” refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image. If you agree with that premise, then what complex ideas do the following photos convey?

  • A baby wearing a t-shirt imprinted with an image of The Three Stooges.
  • A rear view mirror reflecting a woman’s eyes and hairline.
  • A person covered from head to toe in mud and sitting on a dirt bike.
  • A side profile of a man in a tuxedo.
  • An image of a business card.
  • A Krispy Kreme Doughnuts billboard.
  • A serene lake surrounded by mountains.

All of these pictures have something in common: each is a photo I saw featured on a LinkedIn profile or included in an e-mail message I received from someone using a Google Account.

Did you know that LinkedIn profiles with photos receive 50-70% more inquires than profiles without? Yet, the lack of an effective profile picture is one of the biggest mistakes people make on Linkedin.

In August, LinkedIn began rolling out changes to the profile page; one immediately noticeable change is that the profile photo is now larger and more prominent. Like it or not, LinkedIn is putting more emphasis on the way a person looks. Perhaps it is time to take an objective look at your photo and ask yourself if it is conveying the right message for your career. When choosing your LinkedIn photo…

11 LinkedIn Photo Tips

The following 11 tips will help you pick the right photo for your LinkedIn, Gmail, Google+, Skype, and other online accounts:

  1. Don’t use an old photo. There are few things worse than meeting someone for the first time and not recognizing them because the profile photo is from 10 years ago (or longer)!
  2. Use a photo of YOU in your profile — not an object.
  3. Smile! Your face should radiate warmth and approachability.
  4. Photos should be professionally done, if possible (but not glamour shots).
  5. Wear your most complementary color. Bright colors can attract attention, but avoid patterns.
  6. Don’t have other people in your photos (and don’t crop other people out of your shot — there should not be any errant body parts in your online photo!).
  7. Make sure the background in the photo isn’t distracting.
  8. Relax. Look directly at the camera.
  9. Take multiple shots and ask people for their opinion on which one makes you seem most “approachable.”
  10. Tips for Men: Wear a dark blue or black dress shirt. No t-shirts, Hawaiian shirts, or busy/crazy patterns.
  11. Tips for Women: Wear something you feel comfortable in. No t-shirts or big/busy patterns. Soft, dark v-necks look great. Black always works; avoid white.

There are literally thousands of online profiles that feature that shadowy gray image of a head, neck, and shoulders. It’s easy to be overlooked if you are hiding in the shadows.

Stand out from the crowd by using these LinkedIn photo tips and choosing the best one.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Norine Dagliano

Norine Dagliano, of ekm Inspirations, is a certified professional resume writer who specializes in working with professionals who have limited job search experience.


  1. Hello Norine,

    Thank you for your article. I found it very interesting. Indeed, it is important to put a professional photo on a network such as LinkedIn for different reasons. I have actually written an article on the same topic. I think we see eye to eye on this. If you want to discuss the subject, it would be a pleasure. I look forward to your future articles. 

    Kieran Hannon  

  2. I think wearing a suit in a photo tells you just one thing about the person – it’s another bland corporate clone. Try to look different and stand out from others. You can still look approachable / like you can be taken seriously; in fact, I think you might be taken more seriously than just another suit.

  3. Dear Norine,

    Thank you for the article, it was great, but I have a question.
    I have been told not to include a picture in my CV as it could cause discrimination or suspicion of it, which is not desired by the company neither the applicant.

    However once a recruiter checks my linked profile or google-s me up, she or he will find my picture.

    This way, the same thing should apply to linkedin photos too, like for CVs.

    Thank you of you give a feedback on my doubts.

  4. I have been told not to use a photo in my CV, because it can cause discrimination or the suspicion of it. But if I upload a photo on my linkedin profile, people will get the same result if I had put a photo in my CV once they google me up. So what do you think? Thanks for your answer!

  5. Thank you for this article, it’s full of some great points! Many job seekers overlook the need for personalizing their online profiles. Putting time and effort into getting the right photo to use for your profile could mean drastically changing your LinkedIn presence. If job seekers aren’t sure if their photo is truly up to par, they should ask their friend and connections to relay their honest opinions.

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