As a job search coach and executive resume writer, I am consistently astounded on the ways job seekers can stand in their very own way of landing the proper position.
Nothing exemplifies this better than the LinkedIn photo.
You might find putting your headshot on a public forum to be daunting. However, if you’ve got resorted to using any available photo, disastrous results can follow.
Do not blame it on the economy, your age, or lack of experience! Failing to display knowledgeable image online can put a damper on your job-hunting success.
In case your LinkedIn photo shows any of the following, employers may refrain from reaching out to you – especially if your target job requires a professional demeanor:
1 – Your pet.
However much you love your dog, cat, or tarantula, employers need not see their shining faces next to yours.
Keep Fido, Fluffy, and Fearless out of your professional life, the identical way you’d refrain from taking them to an interview.
2 – The inside of your car.
Wish to convey that you are serious about your career? Then look the part – deliberately – instead of using a random photo that features a headrest.
Even an ideal shot of you behind the wheel is not enough to make employers think you possibly can drive a new project or team. (pun intended)
3 – Excessive (or white) beards.
While neatly trimmed facial hair is common, some employers react to beards on candidates. Facial hair, especially when it is white, can age you. My clients consistently report better results when they join the ranks of their clean-shaven counterparts.
Still not convinced? Read this article from CBS News, or do your individual online research. The evidence overwhelmingly points to a successful job search for candidates who take the hint and eliminate facial hair, especially if gray or white – not less than when their photo is taken.
4 – Your spouse or children.
Family photos aren’t LinkedIn fodder, because your Profile is all about your professional life. Unlike Facebook, where family matters are frequently shared, your LinkedIn Profile is the place to separate work and home.
Show employers you understand this divide by keeping your LinkedIn persona strictly about your professional image.
5 – Bare shoulders.
Here’s a typical issue: professional women in less-than-professional attire.
If you have spent countless hours honing your career skills and earning a path to a leadership role, then put knowledgeable face forward, especially on a career-oriented networking site.
Sure, a late-night party photo can make it easier to look good, but this isn’t the perfect, career-focused image you might be sending to a prospective boss.
Doing so can even make it appear that you’ve got confused LinkedIn with Facebook – not a wise move when many roles require social media aptitude.
Bottom line: in case you wouldn’t wear a selected outfit to an interview, then avoid showing the identical attire on LinkedIn.
6 – A political sign.
Chances are you’ll believe that endorsing (or bashing) a political figure on LinkedIn will promote your cause. But guess what? Your prospective boss may be on the opposite side of your political leanings.
As the last election showed all too well, at least half of this country disagrees with you (and therefore, may not consider hiring you).
Drop the political messages out of your Profile photo and text, and see what happens.
7 – Your spouse’s shoulder.
Cropping yourself out of a family photo not only looks obvious, but implies that you are camera-shy (and maybe will not project confidence at work).
Get over your reluctance – your job search success may depend on it. You may easily get an incredible-looking photo by relying on an expert headshot photographer.
These pros are often affordable (as little as $30 at a sequence store), and experts at making you look your best (even if you don’t feel picture-perfect!). They’ll position you at a flattering angle, and even apply airbrushing at your request.
You may never need that shoulder again.
To sum it up, your LinkedIn Profile isn’t just the “new resume” – it is a fresh opportunity to advertise your brand by looking the part of the consummate expert.
If your LinkedIn Profile isn’t gaining traction, take a serious take a look at your posted photo. Changing it to knowledgeable-looking headshot might just be the push needed for employers to contact you.