DISCLAIMER: Although I do poke a little fun at the LinkedIn profile photos featured in this article, I do sincerely hope each of these people reads the recommendations I have suggested and makes the appropriate changes to their LinkedIn Profile photos. I think they will find their businesses and careers will benefit from it.

The average attention span of people nowadays is approximately 8 seconds, which is 1 second less than the average goldfish.  No, really, check out this statistic.

That means you have a very short amount of time to “impress” a potential business prospect when they are deciding whether or not they want to work with you.

As the saying goes: “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression”.

LinkedIn is one of the first places that people go to learn more about someone before they make a buying decision.  And, one of the first things they’ll notice on your LinkedIn profile is your photo.

To make sure you don’t leave a lasting first impression for the wrong reasons, you need to understand what other people are doing wrong so you can ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.

With that in mind, here are 9 ways your LinkedIn Profile photo may be leaving the wrong first impression.

LinkedIn Profile Photo FAILS. What NOT To Do!

If you are more of a “watcher” than a “reader”, check out the video below where I review the first 4 tips mentioned in the article below.

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-11. Leave The Dog At Home

Who doesn’t like a cute family dog?  But, when it comes to LinkedIn profile photos, I would recommend that you keep the dog out of your photo.

Unless, of course, you own a dog walking business.  Then, it would seem appropriate.

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-22. Hide Your Elbows

As a rule of thumb, if you can see your elbows in your LinkedIn profile photo, you are too far away from the camera.

Ensure your photo is cropped from the elbows up to make it easier for people to recognize your face at first glance.

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-33. Don’t Forget Your Shirt

I’m not really sure what to say about this one.

Unless you are a UFC fighter, I would suggest you always wear a shirt in your LinkedIn profile photo.

4. Is That Your Backhoe?

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-4Although it might be tempting to show your prospects a fancy piece of equipment you own, they are not there to do business with your equipment.

They are on LinkedIn to check YOU out and want to be able to put a face to a name.

5. No Photo = No View

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-5If you have not taken the opportunity to upload a photo to your LinkedIn profile, you are at a disadvantage to your competition.

LinkedIn profiles with no photo are deemed less trustworthy than those with professional photos.

6. Toss Me A Cold One

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-6LinkedIn is a place for business professionals to connect and build relationships with other business professionals.

While it may be appropriate to use a casual photo on Facebook, it is not appropriate for LinkedIn.

7. Your Head Is Too Small

LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-7The ideal pixel size for your LinkedIn profile photo is 400 x 400. Don’t risk looking like Beetlejuice.

Ensure that you unload a professional photo that is large enough to fill up the entire space available.

8. Photoshop Backgrounds Are Never Recommended

I think the image speaks for itself. It is never a good idea to superimpose your head on a fake background.

Especially when that background looks like it was painted by a talented resort artist in LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-8Mexico 🙂

9. Blurry Photos Can Be Worse Than No Photo

A blurry photo does not properly represent your professional image.

If the best profile photo you have available to upload looks blurry, you are better off having nothing for now until you can take a quality, professional photo.LinkedIn-Profile-Photo-FAIL-9

Exceptions To The “Professional Photo Only” Rule

Keep in mind, not everyone is in a professional role where a suit and tie is expected attire. In some cases, it is perfectly acceptable to have a creative photo that helps tell your story and attract the right kind of prospects.

For example, Ruslan Vasylev’s LinkedIn profile photo is not one you see every day. Although it is a strange choice for a LinkedIn profile…it’s actually quite fitting since his company does 3D modelling.

Or, check out Leah Marggraf-Turley.  She is an aspiring Art Director and as a “creative” type, her oversized head might seem odd on the average LinkedIn profile.  But, the type of people hiring an Art Director would likely see this creative use of her profile photo as a positive thing.

Of course, not everyone can afford to have a professional head shot taken.  But, if you follow these rules of what NOT to do, you’ll be on the right path to ensuring your first impression is a positive one.

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