Does Your LinkedIn Photo Need a Makeover?

A bad LinkedIn profile photo can ruin your chances at career success. Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips to help you makeover your LinkedIn image.

Richie Frieman
3-minute read

A picture says a thousand words. But when it comes to a LinkedIn profile picture, sometimes those words are, “Nope, not connecting with that guy.”  

If you think the profile picture of you holding a drink in one hand, while twirling your car keys in the other, shows how cool you are, you're very much mistaken. Unfortunately, mistakes like this can be detrimental to your career.

See also: 5 Worst LinkedIn Mistakes You Can Make


The truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover. Is this wrong? Well, in real life, yes, but on LinkedIn, when you’re being hit up by strangers asking for admission into your professional inner circle – no, it’s not wrong at all. The last thing you want is to be misrepresent yourself (or worse, not be taken seriously) because you made a bad call on your profile picture.  

So, let’s give your LinkedIn profile picture a makeover with these 3 easy tips:

Tip #1: Meet Your Industry’s Standards

People who work in finance have a vastly different look from people who work in the music industry. So if you're an accountant, why would you use a photo where you look like you just stepped off the set of a J.Lo music video?

No matter your profession (lawyer, artist, architect, or even a dancer) you have to look the part. How can anyone take you seriously if you don't take the time to represent yourself as a serious professional? Your photo should reflect the industry standards of your field. A good rule of thumb is to choose a photo where you look like someone at the highest level in your industry.

Tip #2: No Props

One of the biggest mistakes people make on LinkedIn is when they bring props into the photo to show off their “personality.”

For example: a glass of wine, a cigar, a fancy car in the background, or any other item. It takes focus away from you and makes it look like you’re trying too hard. If you’re going for the appearance of “sophistication” or “accomplishment,” you can make that clear by crafting a solid description of your qualifications and resume…not a picture of you with a bottle of Dom Perignon in some VIP section at a Vegas nightclub. That doesn’t say “success” - it screams desperation.

Tip #3: Ditch the Photoshop

The traditional path for connecting with someone on LinkedIn goes like this: You send a request, you chat online, you meet in person, you make a business deal. Boom!

But what happens when you finally meet someone you've been communicating with on LinkedIn and they look nothing like their profile photo? The first thing you will inevitably think is, "I can't trust this person."

Whether it’s "creatively tweaking" your age, your size, or your hairline, people will not trust someone who lies in their photo. It shows insecurity. Always use a current, clean, Photoshop-free profile picture. People want the real you and can read through phony attempts.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle? Are you looking to start a new career or take yours to the next level? Check out my book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Cartoon image created by Richie Frieman. All rights reserved.