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20 More Reasons Your LinkedIn Headshot May Be an Epic Fail

by Tobias Schremmer  |  
February 27, 2014

With more than 277 million users in over 200 countries and territories so far, LinkedIn is a true social networking juggernaut. On LinkedIn, you'll likely meet your new boss, client, partner, or employee, even if you may not know it at the time. The undeniable reality is that before anyone reads the thousand words on your profile, they will judge you by your headshot.

In 2012, I wrote 19 Reasons Your Headshot May Be an Epic Fail, which took a satirical look at poor examples of profile photos on LinkedIn. That piece, as well as a follow- up a year later, garnered a lot of attention. (The social shares on both articles disappeared this January due to a site relocation, but I swear it received a lot of social media attention.)

The time has come for an update. Because I practically live on LinkedIn, I see an example daily of how to fail at your photo, and recent examples inspired this post. Remember: the point of my snarkitude is to exhort the working masses take a moment to double-check the face they present to the working world.

1. The bare-feet-on-the-beach selfie

That point-of-view shot of your lower calf and feet resting comfortably on a blue towel with only sand/shore/sky in front of you must mean you work for Jimmy Buffet, searching for your lost shaker of salt. Oh, wait. You're an account executive. In Chicago. Maybe this shot helps you endure the polar vortexes all winter, but are those lower gams really the first impression you want to make on LinkedIn?

2. I can haz Seth Godin

The bald look is powerful, I confess. More so when you are so deliberately posing a side profile with one hand on your thick framed glasses. In your gray T-shirt. Against that bright-red concrete background. No smile for you, of course. You are a SENIOR content manager, and you mean business.

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Tobias Schremmer is a senior sales executive at MarketingProfs.

LinkedIn: Tobias Schremmer

Twitter: @Schremkopf


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  • by Jerry Thu Feb 27, 2014 via web

    This article was great, and right on time for me.

  • by Michal Lusk Thu Feb 27, 2014 via web

    Hilarious take on what not to do. I confess I have a VACATION SHOT myself, taken at the beach (at least it's a face shot with the ocean in the background). And mine is double bad because it's now over 2 years old. High time I update/upgrade to professional.

  • by Mr. Spock Thu Feb 27, 2014 via web

    I concur with item #6 on your list. Out of the entire fleet of Starship Captains, there are more obvious and logical choices.

  • by Ann Handley Thu Feb 27, 2014 via web

    #21: You're wearing Google Glass.

  • by Khadijah Fri Feb 28, 2014 via web

    I love no. 4 and James Kirk! But what can be irritating is the fcbook selfies on LinkedIn, changing the poses every other day! Can anyone out there help to explain this

  • by M. Todd Sat Mar 15, 2014 via web

    I was interested in this article when I saw the headline. Then I read item #1, and my thought was, "I've never (ever) seen a "feet on the beach" selfie on LinkedIn." So I read item #2, and I literally did not understand a single word of it. Haz can? Seth Godin? Bald head? Thick glasses? Gray t-shirt? Red background?

    FWIW, I'm a 43-yr old lawyer in a major metropolitan area, culturally literate, fluent in social media, a serious reader (books/NYT/WSJ/etc.). But you lost me, fast. Just letting you know.

  • by M. Todd Sat Mar 15, 2014 via web

    Holy cow. I posted my first comment after reading only items 1 & 2, but then I read the rest (because I actually need to update my LinkedIn photo and I thought something in this article might be helpful.) Unfortunately, I neither understood nor related to items 3 through 20 either. And to think I registered with "MarketingProfs" just to make a comment! Oh wait, ...I guess that was the whole point of the article. (Deleting/un-registering/un-subscribing now...)

  • by Quinby Wed Mar 19, 2014 via web

    First, this is the best and most detailed (print it for later, too) posit on this topic so many of us ignore. Why, a) It is the first to use humor, b) There's no kidding around on the theme, c) On LinkedIn since 2007 and a pro career trainer, my take is in total agreement with Tobias. Why? Because I struggle to this day to persuade LinkedIn users to embrace the free opportunity or delete. You have 6.5 seconds, I am told, to grab your visitor. If there is no picture or one Tobias vividly illustrates, you don't get a second chance. Your profile becomes an orphan. True or true? sQs

  • by Mark Mon Aug 22, 2016 via web

    Your headshot should reflect who you are professionally: what is right for the forensic accountant won't be right for the wedding planner. And make sure it is current or you'll risk looking like you've been out of the job market for some time.

  • by Mark Wed Feb 1, 2017 via web

    Perfect. But why not check out actual profile pictures? Curated by myself of course:

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