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About that LinkedIn profile pic...

Social Media in Job Search


I have a really good photo of myself that was taken about 20 years ago. Can I use it for my LinkedIn profile?


Like everything else, the answer to this one is “It depends.”

If you still look very much like the photo and not 20 years older, go ahead and use it. That would not apply to most of us, however. You don’t want to show up to the interview looking a lot older, or a lot different, from your LinkedIn profile picture. This also applies if you’ve gained or lost a lot of weight, colored your hair, etc.

An employer might view this action as kind of a bait-and-switch. If you’ve gained 50 pounds or 20 years or your hair has gone completely grey, they may wonder what else you’re hiding.

One LinkedIn user recently attended a LinkedIn seminar. She didn’t know the instructor, but found her on LinkedIn beforehand and connected with her. On the day of the seminar, she was in a room full of strangers, but immediately managed to identify the instructor. The instructor was also pleased to see a friendly, somewhat familiar face. It got the class off to a good start and provided a useful example.

It would probably be better to get another really good photo taken of yourself to use on your LinkedIn profile. Consider getting it done professionally, so the photographer can adjust the lighting and background (maybe even makeup) to make the most of what you have to offer. It will leave you with a lot less explaining to do.


About the Author

Beth Davis-Reinhold

Beth Davis-Reinhold is an instructor at Frederick County Workforce Services, where she has worked for over 20 years. She teaches job search seminars and basic computer skills. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer, and is Internet and Computing Core Certified (IC3). Beth has been a member of Toastmasters International for more than 15 years, and is an Advanced Communicator Silver. A graduate of Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Beth has also studied American Sign Language for many years. In addition to many sundry projects for FCWS, Beth writes its “Ask the Career Coach” blog.