Save face; keep profile photos professional

Let’s face it: We humans are obsessed with face.

First of all, there are about 18 gazillion idioms commonly used (at least in the English language) with direct or veiled references to the face. Here’s a smattering:

Put on a happy face;

Get out of my face;

She is completely stone-faced;

It’s time to face the music;

Wow, is he ever two-faced;

I couldn’t keep a straight face;

I got some egg on my face in that meeting;

The answer is as plain as the nose on my face;

It’s time to put on your game face.

Face is so versatile and handy a word that it has positive, negative, funny, serious, happy, sad and even silly connotations. It’s used in jest, in reference, in examples. It’s bandied about as a noun, verb and adjective. It’s used singularly, in plural or combining forms. The list is longer than the gift return line at Macy’s.


In fact, some of the world’s greatest artists, authors, visionaries and influencers have launched careers, movements, fragrance empires, masterpieces or inventions based on a single face.

Think of what Mona Lisa did for Leonardo da Vinci’s career or what Marilyn Monroe’s countenance (et al) did for Chanel No. 5 or even what Mickey Mouse’s mug did for Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

Not to mention, but of course I will, that whole little phenomenon cooked up by what’s-his-face, Mark Zuckerberg. #facebookrulestheworld

If a face can launch a thousand ships, stop a clock or even avoid humiliation (a la, “save face”), why are so many faces taking it on the chin — and various other parts of the body — in the world of social self-promotion?

I speak of the face so many choose to show the world in their online profiles. Specifically, take a good, long look at your LinkedIn picture, people. Is this really the way to put your best foot, and face, forward?

I was browsing through my LinkedIn connections and would-be contacts the other day when I noticed a gal whose profile photo revealed a tiara. Um, I can’t be positive but I’m pretty sure not even Kate Middleton (you know, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who’s married to Prince William) has a LinkedIn profile picture sporting a flipping crown, okay?

Then there was the gentleman whose first impression to the LinkedIn world is his nearly nude but fully buff weightlifting competition pose. I wish I was joking.


Look, I get it. Some folks are so comfortable in their social media skin that they let their, um, personalities really hang out in their online profiles. But here are two words to the wise: Face reality.

As in, you can have as goofy a photo adorning your Facebook page as you wish. Heck, you can even ham it up on if you’re willing to take the chance that your future soulmate shares your wacky sense of humor.

But LinkedIn is a networking site for business people. Professionals. Grown-ups with mortgages and 401(k)s and stuff like that.

Please refrain from using any of the following as your professional headshot anywhere, anytime, period:

Photos of you in a swimsuit;

Your wedding album cover;

Pictures in which you are wearing pajamas;

Out-of-focus, ill-sized, off-center and any sort of looking-off-into-the-distance snaps;

Full-body photos or those in which you are scantily clothed;

Action shots, especially any in which you are eating something, smooching someone or offering up a gesture of some type;

Photos from 1987 or prior — or those in which you no longer even remotely resemble your current appearance.

Listen, everyone’s beautiful in their way, for certain. And individual expression is one of life’s most wonderful gifts. Be comfortable in your own skin … but just be careful to keep your professional persona just that if you want to be taken seriously, yo.

After all, I don’t want some momentary lapse in photographic judgment blowing up in your face.

Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist with a face made for radio. Check out her blog at