A general counsel friend wanted to revise and make more robust his LinkedIn profile and queried me as to whether it was necessary to have a photo.  He may have been self-conscious about his looks.   Join the club.  Aren’t we all? He did want his revised profile to be seen by possible recruiters.  He also had a question about revealing one’s religion on LinkedIn, but that will be the subject of another blog post.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Many people are self-conscious of their photos and just do not like being photographed.  Some do not like the way they look because of age, weight, baldness, etc.   Some do not like the idea of others having photos of them for privacy or security reasons.  So having their photo out there on the internet on LinkedIn makes some people very uncomfortable.  Understandably, you find it more so for women than men.

Being Judged

For purposes of using your LinkedIn profile as a resume billboard for a job search or business development, it gets even trickier.  Some people do not want to be excluded for consideration for a job or a contract because of race, ethnicity, age, average looks, and so forth.  We all know that people can be discriminated against for those reasons (race and ethnicity were not the concerns of my general counsel  friend as he is neither a racial nor an ethnic minority).  Unfortunately, research has shown physical attractiveness can give a person a leg up in life. Nevertheless, for a job interview or for a business meeting, you will eventually have to meet potential employers or customers in person.

Let It Be

You are who you are, and you should be at ease with yourself even if there are nincompoops who may not be comfortable with your identity, looks and  background.

My personal belief is that if someone wants to discriminate against me because of my age, looks, ethnicity or whatever, I would not want to work or do business with that person anyway.  People are naturally curious as to what a person with whom they will do business looks like.  I know that I am.  A photo provides more context.  Accordingly, I have no hesitancy putting my photo on LinkedIn.

If I were a woman, I would probably be a bit more circumspect because of security concerns as there are weird people out there in the world.

Bottom Line:  You can skip a photo on LinkedIn without sacrificing the effectiveness of your profile.


  1. Cory,

    I personally come down on the side of having a photo on one’s LinkedIn profile. You certainly do not want a poorly shot photo or ill fitting, inappropriate clothing for your photo. You do want to put your best foot forward (or in this case your face forward) as you are presenting an image of your self to contribute to your personal narrative. If you have a highly readable, compelling content in your profile narrative, a photo becomes less important. But as we both note, at some point in time, one has to reveal one’s image whether in person or in some other medium, so why put it off? We are visual creatures and we process a lot of information with our eyes taking in various images. We all recognize that reality on some level as evidenced in the billions of dollars spent on dieting, hair coloring, cosmetic surgery, fashions, health clubs, etc. Oh well, we must work with what we have.

    G. A.


  2. I automatically take notice of those executives whom have a very strong, professional and complete social media brand presence versus those whom do not. I actually think, from a personal brand perspective, that it does hurt you not to have a “professional” picture on all of your social medial profiles. I do want to emphasis that no profile picture is better than a poor quality profile picture, but nonetheless a professional profile picture accompanied with a strong profile description definitely sets you apart as a “consummate” professional.

    Here is some food for thought. In a sense our social media presence can be viewed through the lens of our traditional believes about professional appearance. Regardless of someone’s resume, we notice even the smallest stains on the tie, scuffed up dress shoes and even someone’s socks. It’s the detail that sets you apart, both good and bad. In a competitive market that depending more on social media presence to select and eliminate candidates, a profile page with no picture may come across as incomplete, lazy or insecure.

    You make a great point. There are some ignorant people out there and there will always be a certain level of personal insecurity to overcome, but you will eventually have to meet with your potential employers or customers. I truly do believe that the risk of someone deciding not to reach out to you because you have a poor quality profile picture, or none at all, is higher than one not reaching out to you because of some discriminatory or human aesthetic reason. More and more people will be introduced to your social media profile before they even become know to you. The same level of detail that one would invest in ones personal appearance should be invested in ones social media appearance. This means having a complete profile page which includes a professional profile picture.


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