What’s With the Sexy LinkedIn Photos?

Posted October 30, 2013 by Jill Vived in Networking Buzz
Working in the staffing industry, I’ve had the chance to look at a lot of LinkedIn photos. Like people, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are friendly and engaging, some are serious, some are geeky, and some of are even a bit scary. (Word of advice, fellas: If your photo looks hauntingly like Jeffrey Dahmer, do a re-take.)

But the biggest surprise? The sheer number of provocative, sexy women’s photos. Ladies, if your headshot looks like it was cropped off the cover of Maxim magazine? Please, take another one. This is a professional networking site—let’s keep it that way. Let’s put our best foot forward and show the boys club why women should rule the world—not merely men’s fantasies.

Establishing a strong personal brand is critical in establishing yourself as a credible professional. Your LinkedIn profile is your branding statement, and imagery is key to your marketing and branding success so take this into consideration when selecting the best image to represent brand you.

Here are 6 tips to ensure you are putting your best face forward on your LinkedIn profile:

  • Wear appropriate clothing. That plunging neckline you wore to your best friend’s wedding? You were a knockout. And those pictures garnered amazing comments on Facebook. But think twice about using that shot as your LinkedIn profile image. While you are gorgeous for sure, you want to be noticed for your credentials, not your cleavage.
  • Consider your pose. Too much tilt to your head or too much chest out can lend a provocative look to your photos that just isn’t professional. Likewise, photos taken straight on can tend to look like mugshots. Try to select an image with a nice, natural pose. A slight tilt or turn of the head and relaxed shoulders will make you look like the confident, professional Career Girl you are and will make prospective employers and networkers want to reach out to you.
  • Consider your venue. No matter how fabulous you looked at your best friend’s holiday party last year, if you obviously have a drink in your hand (even if you cropped the drink out of the photo), don’t use the image. The same goes for photos obviously taken in bars or other non-professional settings. Not every prospective employer is going to judge you on account of your photo, but why risk it when some may? Exceptions to this rule may exist if you work in an industry related to your photo; if you are in the travel industry and show a photo of yourself in front of the Eiffel Tower, this may actually increase your credibility with a prospective employer. Just make sure it’s not you in front of the Eiffel Tower in a crop top and mini skirt.
  • Only include yourself in your profile photo. Your girlfriends are gorgeous and you do nearly everything together, but they don’t belong in your LinkedIn photo. Neither does your hot boyfriend, your adorable baby, or your precious kitten. Ask yourself this question: Would I bring the person (or pet) pictured to a job interview with me? If the answer is no (which in nearly all cases it certainly should be), leave them out of the picture. Unless you work with rescue animals for a living, there are very few cases when it is appropriate to include anyone other than yourself in your profile image.
  • Limit your accessories. Simple jewelry adds a nice professional touch to a profile picture, but hats, sunglasses and loud accessories are merely a distraction. Sure, that photo of you on vacation last summer donning hat and Jackie O. shades is awesome, but better to post it to your personal Facebook page or Instagram account rather than your LinkedIn profile. The hat and sunglasses merely detract from your professional image and do not provide a good representation of you.
  • Lastly, don’t substitute an image of anyone else for you: you may think that picture of Superwoman is funny and memorable, but is that truly how you want to be remembered? Miley Cyrus may think all press is good press, but Career Girls, this is your professional reputation you are establishing; let your profile picture be the best representation of you and let your talents and abilities showcase themselves. You want to be known for your talents, not your picture.

A few other thoughts to keep in mind

A professional profile photo needn’t be taken by a professional photographer, although if you do have an image of yourself taken by a professional, by all means use it. If you don’t have access to (or the budget for) a professional photographer, have someone take a photo of you with a simple, non-distracting background–a blank wall or a shaded spot in the backyard is always a good choice. Ensure the lighting is adequate so you don’t have shadows across your face and have the photographer take it relatively close, so your shoulders, neck, and head only are included in your photo.

Career Girls, a professional image is not only a nice touch, it is critical to your professional success.

As for those sexy photos? Give those to your boyfriend.

About the Author

Jill Vived

Jill Vived is a freelance writer and marketing communications professional currently working as the Director of Marketing for Vivalta, Inc., a recruiting firm specializing in placing finance and accounting professionals in Denver and San Francisco she co-owns with her husband. Working in the search industry has given Jill a distinct perspective on careers and job search that she is excited to share with Career Girls everywhere. When she is not reading up on everything marketing, branding, and career related, Jill spends her time chasing around her two young children, dreaming up DIY crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors.