Note: This blog post is a sequel of my previous blog i.e. What Does Your Profile Picture Says about You?

“I don’t want to judge… But then, how can I not?” said Palwasha Kahar, HR Professional – she mostly hire people through online mediums, shared her opinion while discussing with me different types of display pictures people use on LinkedIn and other professional networks or forums. She added, “It’s my job and I have to select best of the best candidates for any job opening and profile picture plays really an important role when I am selecting candidates online”.

We all love ourselves, don’t we? We praise and adore ourselves in one way or another, no matter what, because this is human nature! That is why we are always running in life’s marathon, to get better – better and ahead of others.

This is the reason why we praise and like most of our own pictures, whether it be a selfie or random click but that really doesn’t mean others are going to like it too, especially people who don’t know you personally. Trust me, professional networks like Linkedin, SkillPages, Elance, oDesk etc., are as critical in shaping your future as any educational certificate – but people need to realize this very fact.

I already discussed the impact of profile pictures in detailed manner in my recent article, you can read it Here.

Today, I am going to describe the inappropriate types of pictures people have been using on professional social networks, which should be strictly avoided.

Picnic Pictures: So maybe you are a socialite or maybe a party person who enjoys outing, picnics and other fun stuff but such moments should be shared on other social websites such as twitter or Facebook. Putting up picnic or outing picture on professional network won’t do any good, rather it sometimes depicts lack of seriousness and lack of professionalism.

Group Pictures: Putting up a profile picture with your friends, colleagues or family is again a cause of confusion for potential hiring managers/professionals because they certainly, can never guess which one is the real person in the picture whom they are looking for.

Selfies: How can we forget selfies while talking about pictures? Taking picture from the front camera is the new trend that is catching fire every single second. People don’t have to depend upon others to take their pictures anymore – thanks to technology for making us independent individuals.

Selfies can be used on WhatsApp or WeChat but they are really inappropriate to use on professional platforms. No one likes to see our face’s extreme close-ups, would you like to see any stranger’s close-up picture? Most probably not. So, avoid using selfies, as hiring professionals do not know you personally and know nothing about your personality – give them some right space to judge you good.

Bathroom Selfies: Whether it’s a five-star hotel’s wash room or your own house’s, washroom is a washroom! I agree with the fact that good lighting and mirror makes us look so good in real, but taking a selfie their and then using it on LinkedIn is totally inappropriate.

Work out or Gym Pictures: Ah, ok guys we all know how much effort in takes to get in good shape. But trust me, LinkedIn or oDesk is not a place to show off your workout or muscles. It’s a big NO to upload such pictures here. Try sharing such pictures on other social accounts for good response.

Celebrities and Models: Why would anyone put up any model or actor’s picture as a display picture where they have a pretty good chance to get hired for their dream job? Let’s assume hiring professional didn’t know the model and considered it as you, don’t you think they will get utterly disappointed to see you right at the moment when you will enter the interview room and introduce yourself? Because they will be expecting some model looking person to walk in that door, but alas!

It’s always good to put up an original picture of you, no matter how bad you think your pictures are – start accepting yourself the way you are, there is nothing wrong in putting up a real picture of you.

Hands and Feet Pictures: So, I observed many girls putting up their nail art, bracelet or shoes pictures on professional networks, I am not sure why they would do that? I agree you love your shoes and other accessories but it’s just not right to use such images on professional and hiring sites.

Unclear or Dark Pictures: Low light pictures and images with bad resolution are a big disaster. Hiring people like to see the candidate’s face and distortion creates confusion and leads to negative impression.

Try uploading a neat and clear picture of your face and shoulders.

Passport Pictures: As I discussed early in my blog, passport pictures should only be used on official documents such as identity cards, school certificates, visa, bank etc.

Recent Picture: Yes, a recent picture of you always does the wonder because if you are mentioning 8 years of experience in some field but display picture that belongs to your graduation document – it will create visible contrast and won’t be suitable to actually authenticate relationship of your picture with years of field experience, as I always say, people are keen to judge. So, don’t make that mistake and try to use picture no old than 3-5 years ago.

So now the question is: What kind of profile pictures should one use?

Here are some sample:

(Note I don’t know any of these people personally)

Perfect Professional Headshot picture
Perfect Professional Headshot picture

Perfect Professional Headshot picture 1
Perfect Outdoor Professional Headshot

corporate Perfect Professional Headshot picture 1
Corporate Headshot Image

Perfect Professional Headshot picture 2
Perfect Outdoor Professional Headshot picture 2


In simple few words, your picture should depict:

  • Confidence,
  • Experience,
  • Trustworthiness
  • Professionalism

It should not depict following things:

  • Selfishness
  • Rudeness
  • Lack of Confidence

A really interesting and informative National Geographic’s program Brain Games documentary shows how we are human are always looking for shortcuts to believe and how we choose to trust anyone unknown in short amount of time. The video describes how our mind can perceive competence and trustworthiness in someone by simply look at his/her face – can’t believe it? I strongly suggest you to take out 20 minutes to watch this video and you will be surprised to know how a simple picture can create different perception, trust me you won’t regret watching it.

Did I miss something that you’d like to add? Please feel free to share with me in comments.

Critique and feedback is more than welcome.