My Do’s And Don’ts Of LinkedIn Profile Photos


If you are between the ages of 25 and 55, then chances are, you probably already have a LinkedIn Profile.  And chances are, you probably don’t think about it very often, unless you are job hunting (in which case, you may be updating your profile almost daily.)

Most people only update their work experience or skills when they revise their LinkedIn profile. More savvy B2B folks find ways to optimize their LinkedIn profile so that they rank higher in the LinkedIn Search results.  Others may ask for recommendations from former coworkers or clients.  But how much time and thought did they put into their LinkedIn profile photo?  My guess is most people have not thought about their photo since the day they uploaded it. How many times have you changed your photo?

LinkedIn has published guidelines for profile photos, but unless you are posting your company logo, your tagline, your favorite animal, or landscape, they will pretty much accept any photo as long as you are in it. If you break their easy-to-meet guidelines three times, they supposedly will not let you upload any more profile photos. However, I have seen some profiles of people who somehow got around this rule, and have a pet as their profile photo.  My guess is they uploaded the photo before the rules were created or enforced, and now they are essentially ‘grandfathered in’ (or would it be, ‘grandfather-Linked-In’?)

Remember that the FIRST thing someone sees when you show up in a LinkedIn search, or “People You May Know”, is your photo, and those first impressions count!  Yet for most people, the profile photo is the LAST thing they worry about!  So what kind of photo makes a good LinkedIn profile photo?  What makes for a bad one?

Here is my short list of Do’s and Don’ts of LinkedIn profile photos:

1. DON’T use your wedding photo, or a photo someone took of you while you were attending someone else’s wedding.  These are far too common and very easy to spot. Will you be wearing that tuxedo or strapless dress to your next interview?  Dapper!

Black and white professional headshot

My professional headshot in black and white

2. DO yourself a favor and get a professional headshot taken at least once every 5 years. No one likes meeting an older version of you after they saw the younger you online. Request a full color headshot and a black and white version of the same photo.  Beyond your LinkedIn profile, its good to have “your best face” on hand for other reasons like company newsletters, bylined articles, online dating sites, obituaries … “you never know when you are going to go” is my motto.  Might as well be ready for it.

3. DON’T use a photo that is obviously a cropped photo of you and someone else.  This is just as common as the wedding photos and drives me berserk!  Just because you were wearing a tie that day does not mean you look professional.  You look sweaty! And if you are going to crop out other people, you should also crop out that drink in your hand.

Example of cropped photo taken at a wedding

Cropped photo taken at a wedding

4. DO make sure to smile in your LinkedIn profile photo. Just like dating sites, people on LinkedIn want to work with happy people. Save your Resting Bitch Face for after you get the gig.

#LMRBFO = Laughing My Resting Bitch Face Off

#LMRBFO = Laughing My Resting Bitch Face Off

5. DON’T keep your profile photo blank.  If you don’t have a profile photo yet, then you probably should not have a public profile yet either.  No one wants to work with a ghost.  Plus, without a photo, how can the people you have previously worked with know that its actually you, and not someone pretending to be you?

6. DO include other items in your profile photo that are relevant to your career.  For example, if you are an audio engineer who typically works at concerts, then a photo of you standing next to a huge audio mixing console certainly adds value to your online resume.  It says “yes, I have done this before, so I am qualified”.  Or if you are a bowling coach, its okay to have bowling ball in hand.

7. DON’T wear sunglasses. Hey, I understand where you are coming from: I think I look better in sunglasses too, but its not appropriate on a professional networking site. Your eyes are the window to your soul, and by wearing sunglasses, you just closed the shades. The one exception to this would be if the person was visually impaired, or if they wear prescription glasses that transition to sunglasses in sunlight.  Also, if you use a photo taken outdoors, make sure your face is clearly visible.  Oftentimes, outdoor photos have too much contrast between the sunlight and shadows.

Sunglasses and Dreadlocks

Would you hire this shady dude?  I sure wouldn’t.

8. DO wear something that resembles what you would typically wear to your job on a day to day basis.  No wedding dresses, no hats, no tie-dyed shirts, no sports attire.  I don’t care how much you love your team; there are people on LinkedIn who do not.  Why jeopardize your career just because you are still bitter that the Hartford Whalers moved to North Carolina in 1997, and left Connecticut without any major sports team?  Not cool, Whalers!

9. DON’T have a coworker, friend, or family member take a photo of you using their mobile phone camera, standing in front of a wall or a tree.  Unless you are the photogenic type, these types of photos will never be as good as a professional headshot.  AND NO SELFIES. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Photo taken on Easter

Photo taken by my friend on Easter

10. DO make yourself stand out, but be careful: this can be a double-edged sword.  You may be wearing a t-shirt that says something funny in your photo, but others may not get the joke.  Better to use a photo from that time you went sky diving, or snorkeling.  These types of “adventure photos” will create instant conversation when you connect with someone new on LinkedIn. Photos of you receiving an award also show you are valuable.

Hopefully by now, you ‘get the picture’.  By putting a little extra time, effort, and yes, a little money into your LinkedIn profile, you will be sure to be putting your best business face forward, and your online resume will be much more professional. First impressions are everything, and online, that impression is limited to your profile photos.

Additional advice on LinkedIn:

If we are not yet connected on LinkedIn, here is my profile:

How I (Didn’t Really) Cut The Cord


For the last few years, I have been shutting off my cable TV service soon after the Super Bowl, and then turning it back on about 6 months later.  Why?  Because I love watching NFL football.  And until recently, I was not able to watch live games without paying for cable TV.

I know that many of you may be thinking that the local games are free if you use an antenna, and you are not wrong.  But the area I live in is surrounded by mountains and trees and unfortunately, every antenna that I have tried simply does not work.

This season, I did not resume cable TV service, because I finally found a way to watch live games without it.  Since I am a Verizon wireless customer, I can watch live local games and NFL Red Zone for free on my phone.  I can then hook my phone up to my TV using an MHL cable/adapter and watch it on a larger screen. I honestly did not think this would be allowed, but it works, sorta.  Today, the stream would lock up or go to static sometimes.  But for the most part, it worked.  I was finally able to “cut the cord” and watch NFL games online, without paying for cable TV.

But when you think about it, the service is not exactly “free”.  There are a handful of commercials that repeat about a hundred times each game.  And more importantly, I had to be a Verizon customer to get the NFL mobile app.

Plus I am still paying Comcast a small fortune every month for my “business class” internet and my “landline”, both of which work over coaxial cable;  the SAME cable that television uses…

Hmmmm.  So I did not really cut the cord at all, did I?  I simply gave up a package of channels that I felt I did not need.  I am still paying the same company a monthly to deliver the stream.  Not to mention how much I pay Verizon for my mobile service.

The service providers realize that people want to watch TV, and they are finding a new way for you to watch it, and to pay for it.

AV Personality Types: Are you an A, B, C, or D?


What Personality Type Makes For A Good Audiovisual Design Company?

Any good company has to have a good mix of people in order to balance the work load.  By matching the personality type of with the job opening, employers can benefit from certain traits that may be inherent in some individuals, and not others.  Combining the different strengths (and often weakness) of individuals into a working recipe for success may take some trial and error as a company grows into maturity.

Below is a hypothesis I have been working on regarding consulting firms and integrators in the AV industry, specifically smaller firms.  My theory is that any good AV integrator or consultant should have one person who fits the following descriptions. Oftentimes, a person fits more than one, but the theory is that you need all four personalities to be ultimately successful, not matter how many team members you have:

AV Personality Type A

This is the Architect of the team; the Artist.  Someone who is an AV Type A is most concerned with the quality of the Audio, the Angles of the loudspeakers, what Amp to use, and the Aesthetics of the video system.  There is another word that starts with the letter A that may describe them…

AV Personality Type B

(or just AVB…? lol) The AV Type B is all about Business. They handle the Brochures and proposals and generate the workflow.  To the clients, they are a Buddy. They often love Bourbon, Buffets, and hand out of a lot Business Cards.  Type B may also handle the day to day business of invoicing, while keeping an eye on the project Budget.

AV Personality Type C

Type C excels in Communication with Client and the other people in the Company.  Type C may be a “jack of all trades, master of none” which makes them ideal Consultants and/or good at Coordination meetings.  Type C likes to talk about Control Systems, Cables, Connectors and Conduits. Custom is this person’s middle name.

AV Personality Type D

In the end, its all about the Deliverables, and the AV Type D is the one who gets it Done.  Computer-aided Drafting?  Done.  Documentation needed before a DeadlineDone.  Double mocha latte with whipped cream?  Buy them one, they probably Deserve it.

The Answer Is: All Of The Above

By mixing and matching each of the above AV personalities, you will find a certain synergy will develop in your firm.  Slow days will be less common as more business develops and projects get done more efficiently.  You can get by without one or two of the above personalities, but not for long, as you need the right balance of folks when things get busy, and when business is slow.