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5 Photos You Should Never Use in a Professional Profile

It can be tempting to show off your quirky, smart Alecky, good-natured self when it comes time to post a new pic on your LinkedIn page or business website. After all, you don’t want people to confuse you with some boring type who doesn’t have any friends outside the office, right?

The problem is that showing anything more than you with nice clothes on and a bright smile on your face (and in your eyes) is likely to be a turn off to other professionals and potential customers looking to learn more about you when visiting your profile pages. Not to mention, with all the social sharing tools we use every day, whatever photo you choose will be plastered all over whatever content you post, share, like, etc.

Here’s 5 ways to make sure you don’t look like a goofball to the people who view you (ie., your brand) online:

1. Bet You Can’t See My Eyes!

Do you really want people’s first impression of you to be that you don’t have a soul? What makes someone think it’s professional to show a pic of you wearing sunglasses, or with your head turned away — in  a dark room — is beyond reasoning. People are viewing your profile to get a sense of who you are. Don’t screw yourself over by making a first impression that basically says “I’m not really into the whole eye contact thing.”

How to choose professional profile picture

Image Credit: Sachiho/Flickr

2. The Prankster

Oh joy! I’m looking at your LinkedIn profile in search of a life coach who takes their job seriously and can help get me on the road to greatness. Upon entering, I’m greeted with pic of some jokester-type who uses silly meme generators and such without shame. Leave the goofy picture stuff to Insta-celebs and the followers who love them.

tips for choosing profile pictures

Image Credit: David Mello/Flickr

3. I’m Soooo Important!

It’s true folks, the 80’s just called and said it’s no longer cool to use pictures of yourself on a mobile trying to look like you hustle 24/7 on your phone. Though I will say that if you work as an agent, the phone-permanently-attached-to-head look could end up paying some dividends from your online profiles! Maybe…

Image Credit: Thomas Rumley/Flickr

4. Yep, I’ve Got a Boyfriend!

Or girlfriend, depending on whether you’ve got one of those ambiguous names that can go either way. Listen, unless your brand is in the pickup artist niche, men and women aren’t going to appreciate seeing a pic of you with your boyfriend, girlfriend, sister, or brother. Some people think this makes them look relateable, real — or when it comes to dating profiles, you just want to look like you’re not some lonely and desperate type who can’t get a date! For a professional profile pic meant to help further your brand, this type of photo is just too casual and potentially confusing.

How to choose professional profile pictures

Image Credit: Lara604/Flickr

5. Everybody Loves Looking at My Kid, Right?

I don’t care if you’re a parent, grandparent, uncle or aunt; kid pics on your profile page doesn’t make you more endearing to the business world. It just makes you look like someone who either: A) Isn’t confident in how they look., or B) Doesn’t have their professional and personal priorities inline. Save the kid pics for in-person meetings and put a picture of yourself in your professional online profiles.

How to choose professional profile pictures

Image Credit: ca_heckler/Flickr

Share Your Own Profile Pic Faux-Pas’

Have you seen any profile pictures lately that you know were supposed to scream professionalism but failed miserably?

Do you have any horror stories of someone using a profile picture that worked against the brand they were trying to build?

Check out this article if you’re looking for tips on how to take the best profile pics for business:

The Research & Science Behind Finding Your Best Profile Picture

Main Image Credit: Alejandro Mallea/Flickr

About author

Chad Stewart
Chad Stewart 82 posts

Chad Stewart is a staff writer for Noobpreneur.com who has worked in business for the better part of 16 years now. He got his start in the down-and-dirty world of intermodal logistics management, before moving into more challenging roles in retail and warehouse management. Chad holds both a Business Marketing and Operations Management degree from Sir Sandford Fleming College. In his spare time he enjoys traveling the world, time with his dog, fishing, snowshoeing, watching UFC and is an avid fitness buff.

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