If you use one of these photos on LinkedIn, employers won’t take you seriously

Research has found that Americans smile the most on their LinkedIn photos, which is a safe choice because it can make you look warm and friendly, but there are still a whole lot of ways to go wrong with your profile photo — both on the platform and social media.

Here’s what not to do when it comes to selecting your image.

Don’t post one that’s awkwardly cropped

CareerArc features takeaways from a webinar featuring former CareerArc Integration Specialist Audra Knight on the site, with “The One with the Crop” listed as one to stay away from on LinkedIn. She now works as Manager of Recruitment Operations at cyber-security company Tenable.

“Remember that one group picture that you just looked great in? Back away from the cropping tool! Take a solo picture, you’ll look better without half of your best friend’s face squished up next to yours,” the post says.

Don’t use a selfie

Yes, it’s 2018— which means selfies (even group ones) are still everywhere.

But that doesn’t make one appropriate for your LinkedIn profile.

Ravi Raman, an executive coach and blogger writes on his site about why selfies aren’t a good idea for LinkedIn.

“Taking a selfie with your phone or posing with your dog or significant other doesn’t count as a professional photo! There is a massive difference between what a professional photographer can do and what you can do. High-quality camera equipment, professional lighting and ability to help you look your best (no “blue steel” please!) all make it highly worthwhile to hire a pro to take a few headshots.” he writes.

Don’t have an empty space where your photo should be

This is never a good idea.

Emma Brudner, who the director of the HubSpot blog, writes on the site that “not having a picture” on LinkedIn is not a good idea.

“If you don’t have a picture, you’re missing out on a considerable amount of profile traffic from recruiters, prospects, influencers, colleagues, and a bunch of others who aren’t even on your radar. If you think about views as votes, you’re losing the election to become someone’s salesperson, next hire, or new connection by a landslide.” she writes.

Don’t post one that is so outdated, it looks like someone else

This can really throw you off. That’s why you shouldn’t have an outdated photo on LinkedIn. You want recruiters to see the latest, most professional version of yourself— not who you were (and what you looked like) five years ago.

So take new headshots or dig through your latest professional photos to find one that looks like you currently do.

Don’t use one from the bar last weekend (even if you thought it was flattering)

Avoid this at all costs.

Photographer Cedric Terrell told WTOP about why you shouldn’t use a photo from a night on the town on LinkedIn.

“You look good that night and figure ‘I’ll use that as my headshot.’ You’re out partying — is that the kind of impression you want to put forth?” he told the publication.

This being said, also make sure that your social media profile isn’t a dead giveaway about your wild social life.

This article was first published on March 16, 2018.