Putting your best face forward – 5 tips for a professional and engaging LinkedIn profile photograph.

LinkedIn profile photo

What do a scuba diver in full gear, a bride, pets, an electrician’s torso, babies, logos and a person wearing a head to toe duck suit have in common?

They’re all profile photos that I found on LinkedIn while researching this article.

And each of them sabotaged their owner’s professional status and branding.

According to LinkedIn, a page with a profile photo can receive up to 21 times more profile views than one without. If you’re serious about making the most of LinkedIn’s networking opportunities, it’s therefore imperative that the quality and tone of your LinkedIn profile photo attracts the right kind of attention from the right kind of potential connections.

So don’t be the guy in the duck suit, getting all the laughs but missing out on the offers.

Follow these 5 tips for a professional LinkedIn profile photo to support your online networking.

LinkedIn photo tip 1

Most importantly, your LinkedIn profile image should be a headshot and in your likeness only. No logos, pets, happy family snaps, photos of you with your friends, words or photographs of you on top of a distant mountain.

If you use any profile image other than a headshot in your likeness, LinkedIn has the right to remove it, under its Profile Photo Guidelines and Conditions, which advise:

“Some examples of photos that shouldn’t be used are:

  • Company Logos
  • Landscapes
  • Animals
  • Words or phrases”.

LinkedIn photo tip 2

As your initial point of contact with recruiters and potential connections, your profile photo needs to be both professional and congruent with your executive brand, particularly if you’re in, or seeking, a leadership role. Apart from the obvious examples of unprofessional photos referred to above, grainy, pixellated or blurred images can let down the rest of your profile.

If you don’t have any photographs that will do your brand justice, you’ll get an exponential ROI from investing in a professional photography session. If you use a corporate headshot specialist, you’ll leave with photographs that you can use on websites and for marketing, as well as for your executive branding on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn photo tip 3

Avoid busy backgrounds that will distract from your photo, and backgrounds that are the same colour as your clothes or hair – you’ll fade into them. For obvious reasons, it’s also advisable to avoid attire that is the same colour as your skin tone.

LinkedIn photo tip 4

Dress appropriately for a business networking opportunity – in most cases, that means business or smart casual attire.

LinkedIn photo tip 5

Think of your body language – watch your posture and ensure you look confident, relaxed and approachable when the photo is taken.


Now that your profile photo is a winner, how does the rest of your LinkedIn profile look? Does it position you optimally and clearly articulate your value as an executive or board member? Does it contain optimised keywords and terms to make you easy to find? Does it sell you to your next connection, client or employer?

If not, it needs help!

If you’d like professional support to take your LinkedIn profile to the next level, I’d love to assist. Click here to connect with me, or visit my online store to view my services and products.


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