Your LinkedIn profile pic – friend or foe? (*plus free feedback offer!)

Posted: 11th July 2016

LinkedIn aims to be different from other social media. Describing itself as “the world’s largest professional network”, its mission is to “connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful”.  For those of using LinkedIn, the key word in both the description and the mission statement is “professional” – and this is what you should aim for in your photo.

There are three types of photograph that could work well for you on LinkedIn:

  • the full face shot
  • the pic of you with your product or service
  • the quirky pic

The full face shot – where you look directly at the camera and smile – is the easiest and the safest.  Done properly, it is very effective. You will come across as a reliable, straightforward and consistent business person.  Options include cropping in close or including whole head and shoulders.  (If you include shoulders, then wear business attire rather than your favourite strappy sun top or top-of-the-range ski jacket …)

I have gone for the full face shot because I tend to be cautious on social media (yeah, I know, I need to get out more…) and I feel it suits my social media ‘personality’.  Here I am and here are two other WiRE members who, I feel, have used the full face shot successfully: Emily Whitehead and Kate Young:

Me                                       Emily Whitehead                 Kate Young







Ruth Downing            Sarah Lewis


The pic of you with your product or service – it is great to be photographed with your product or providing your service as the photo then illustrates your business. Two WiRE members who do this to great effect are Ruth Downing (who, incidentally, takes LinkedIn profile photos for people) and Sarah Lewis:


Helen Culshaw                      Philippa Davies



For the quirky pic you need confidence, courage and creativity … Get it right and it works brilliantly.  Get it wrong and you leave your audience puzzled and confused. (But why not try it anyway? You can always take it down.)  Here are two – again WiRE members – who have pulled it off perfectly:


Whatever you decide to do, try to avoid these five common mistakes:

  1. a cropped picture of you taken from a group shot. However careful you are there always seems to be someone else’s arm or hand included…
  2. busy backgrounds which have nothing to do with your business
  3. two of you in a pic (which one are you?)
  4. a pic of you holding a wine glass or a pint (unless you sell it)
  5. you on holiday….in sunglasses….at the races with the girls…at an evening do wearing a cocktail dress…at the spa…

You get the picture.

Judith Poulteney MA FCIPD is a specialist careers consultant and interview coach who produces interview-winning CVs, covering letters and LinkedIn profiles. She would like to thank the WiRE members who let her use their LinkedIn profile pictures for this blog.    01785 284849,   07837 917803

*Want some objective feedback – FREE – on your LinkedIn profile pic?  Connect with me and message me on LinkedIn and I will send you my comments.  This offer is available to the first ten WiRE members who get in touch up to 31 July 2016 – so be quick!