Your LinkedIn profile gives other business professionals a unique opportunity to “meet” you before they actually meet you – and everyone wants to put a face with the name and credentials they see on the screen. For that reason, your profile should include a picture. Just keep in mind that LinkedIn is not Facebook – a picture of you with the family dog, singing karaoke at the company Christmas party, sitting on the beach with a beer in your hand, etc. is not appropriate.
Glamour shots and acting headshots are not appropriate either – you aren’t auditioning for a Broadway musical or a modeling job.
By all means, do not use a picture of an object that you feel adequately represents you, or that you think is neat – a picture of a Ferrari, lightning bolt, cartoon character, or 80’s rock band logo (my personal favorite) is completely unacceptable. Keep it business professional.
Men – Suit. Tie. Clean-shaven face. No exceptions.
Women – a pants suit is probably most appropriate.
Don’t be afraid to smile, or at least have a pleasant look on your face. You want to portray yourself as someone that other people want to work with – yes, this is a professional picture, but that doesn’t mean you need to have your game face on.
The picture should be in full color and should show no more of you than your head and shoulders. Pictures that are grainy, fuzzy or not well lit look terrible – for that reason, I’d stay away from using passport or driver’s license photos. If financially feasible, have a picture taken by a professional photographer – it’s well worth the investment. A picture is a huge part of your online presence and you want to make the right impression.
Fidler’s Law of LinkedIn Photos: The more serious someone is about their LinkedIn picture, the more serious they are about their career.