How important is it to have a photo in your LinkedIn Profile? Take a look at these statistics and see for yourself: a professional headshot can improve your presence by 93 percent, and a profile with a photo is 11 times more likely to be viewed. Many job seekers are hesitant to reveal their faces to the public eye. They may already have an almost-complete LinkedIn Profile, but they haven’t added the photo. Maybe they don’t like the photos they have available or they’re trying to avoid discrimination. Either way, they’re hurting your potential for making connections. For those of you who feel uncomfortable exposing yourselves to the digital world, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and gain some confidence.
As far as discrimination goes, it’ll happen regardless of whether or not you post a photo on the web. It’s only a matter of time. If someone doesn’t want to hire you because of your age, they won’t hire you whether they see you online or in person. You actually save valuable time and energy by making it clear who you are ahead of time. Besides, if someone doesn’t want to work with you because of some superficial reason, do you really want to waste your time on that company? By having a visible photo, you can focus your efforts where the benefit is more probable for you.
Bottom line, having a photo establishes your credibility, allows people to more easily recognize you, and shows employers that you’re consistent. But most importantly, it cements your personal brand. Last week, we received complaints from our employers about their frustrations when viewing candidates’ profiles. Many times, they either see the notorious “default egg” or an unprofessional photo. “I don’t want to see your kids sliding down a water slide or you enjoying a cocktail during happy hour – it doesn’t make me confident that you’re the right fit,” said one of our clients.
There’s something powerful about “putting a face to the name” that humanizes your professional identity, and recruiters are much more likely to click on a profile that includes a photo when sourcing. When a person excludes a headshot, it comes across as laziness, plain and simple. Hiring managers won’t bother putting in the work to court you if you’re not willing to represent yourself in the best way possible.
The worst offense a candidate can make is posting a photo that portrays them in an unprofessional way. Too much skin, a beer in hand, or overly casual clothing is all it takes to get crossed off an employer’s list of top candidates, no matter how qualified you were. “Really? That’s their idea of a professional headshot? That might be acceptable on Facebook but certainly not on a career-networking site,” said another hiring manager about a candidate recently taken out of the running.
If you can’t afford professional headshots, ask a friend to take them, but choose business appropriate clothing and a neutral setting. Your LinkedIn photo should make the same impression on people as if you were greeting them personally, so make sure you smile – people will be more likely to connect with you. Many people like to post a photo that’s business casual, which means they look smart and professional, but also warm and approachable. Another option is to use a photo that shows you in your professional element to help viewers visualize your potential.
Want to know another employer pet peeve? Lack of preparation. Have you started on your job search plan? Complete with resume / cover letter guides and useful checklists, our free Job Search Toolkit will help you get your career off the ground and track your progress.